IBM South Africa today announced that credit-qualified small and medium businesses will be able to access IBM’s Global Financing’s $1 billion pot of funding made available to SMB’s, to take advantage of a new suite of advanced technologies such as analytics and cloud, over the next 18 months.
“This effort is designed to help qualifying SMBs spur innovation and drive economic growth by making credit more easily accessible.” says Jeannine Jennings, General Manager MEA, IBM Global Financing.
Financing is one of the biggest challenges limiting the success of SMBs today. According to the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) 50% of small businesses fail within their first five years due to lack of capital. For business to flourish, and especially during the start-up and expansion phases, an enabling climate must be created.
Since this segment is responsible for nearly 40% of GDP, representing more than 80% of all businesses and employing more than 80% of the workforce, SMBs play a critical role in a economic growth in South Africa.
Today’s news addresses the urgent need for capital by providing the right foundation and resources to support SMBs in this economy. IBM’s $1 billion in financing for SMBs is designed to eliminate many of the cost barriers they face to grow their business. IBM will offer simple, flexible lease and loan payment plan packages, some starting at as low as 0 percent for 12 months allowing them to immediately acquire the IBM technology and services they need to begin to transform their businesses, while managing their cash flow more effectively.
This financing will be made available to SMB clients through IBM Business Partners who can benefit from enhanced online financing tools to generate price proposals and get approvals for credit applications for SMB clients in less than 60 seconds, all available by a simple click of the mouse.
The announcement also includes the launch of a comprehensive set of new solutions, which include workload optimized systems combining hardware and software and services offerings focused on technologies, such as cloud, analytics, collaboration and security, specifically designed to address SMBs key needs.
IBM aims to help this segment by making these advanced technologies, once reserved for larger enterprises with large budgets, available to SMBs through IBM Business Partners at an affordable price. These new offerings also introduce technologies from IBM’s recent cloud, analytics and security acquisitions such as Cast Iron, BigFix, SPSS, Netezza and Cognos.
Clients can now take advantage of these new technologies with no money down and by simply making monthly or quarterly financing payments.
In a recent IBM Midmarket survey of 650 CIOs, half are looking to invest in cloud over the next five years, a 50 percent increase in demand for cloud since the last CIO study in 2009. Cloud solutions can also help SMBs automate their IT infrastructure, allowing their staffs to shift more attention to strategic projects focused on growth.
The new solutions also include analytics for SMBs to tackle “Big Data” challenges to help better extract insight and spot trends to make better business decisions and identify new market opportunities. These offerings will combine technologies from IBM’s recent acquisitions. In fact, the survey highlighted analytics as the top priority by more than 83 percent of CIOs.
In addition to software, services and financing, IBM offers a variety of ways for entrepreneurs to grow their businesses with no-charge access to advanced technologies, leading business and technology experts and training. Through its Global Entrepreneur Program and network of 40 global Innovation Centers, IBM helps businesses solve tough challenges, enter new markets and access the training and support needed to get their products to market faster.
“SMBs are the engines of new ideas for our economy and for economic growth. Curiosity and opportunity thinking is what sets them apart,” adds Jennings. “ Information has become the new currency, the ability of SMBs to survive in an increasingly competitive and global environment is largely determined by their use of new technologies such as cloud and analytics to quickly access the right information and use it as a competitive advantage.”