Just days after it launched the Sukuma Relief Programme, which will disburse R1-billion from the Rupert Family to small businesses, fund administrator Business Partners said it had suspended applications as the fund is already oversubscribed.

This, while SA on-demand cleaning service SweepSouth has launched a fund to help domestic workers to survive the country’s national lockdown.

With the coronavirus (Covid-19) headlining news all over the world, Ventureburn has launched a regular daily roundup on the virus and how it is affecting Africa’s tech startup sector.

Those with any news releases relating to Covid-19 and Africa’s tech startup sector can send these to editor@memeburn.com.

The Sukuma Relief Programme, which will disburse R1-billion from the Rupert Family to small businesses, is already oversubscribed

Here then is the latest on the coronavirus and African tech startups:

Ruperts fund oversubscribed: Just days after it launched the Sukuma Relief Programme, which will disburse R1-billion from the Rupert Family to small businesses, fund administrator Business Partners said it had suspended applications as the fund is already oversubscribed. It includes both completed applications and applications in progress, the financier said yesterday. Over 10 000 applications have been received, totalling over R2.8 billion, it said. If once all applications are assessed and some have not been approved and there is capital remaining, the programme will open for applications again, the financier said. This, while Business Partners managing director Ben Bierman called on big businesses and help contribute additional funding to the programme.

Over 10k applications to Oppenheimer fund: The South African Future Trust, established by Nicky and Jonathan Oppenheimer to disburse R1-billion in debt relief to small businesses and their employees affected by the coronavirus, has received over 10 000 applications since 3 April. Applications are being handled by Absa, FNB, Nedbank, and Standard Bank. The SAFT yesterday said it expected to approve over R250-million loans by Wednesday, allowing over 20 000 individuals to benefit from support.

SweepSouth launches fund: SA on-demand cleaning service SweepSouth has launched a fund to help domestic workers to survive the country’s national lockdown. The public can contribute to the fund via the SweepSouth Thundafund Project in return for discounted offers by visiting the SweepSouth website. The startup’s co-founder and CEO, Aisha Pandor (pictured above, centre), yesterday said at least R4-million a month will be needed to ensure the platform’s domestic workers and their families are able to eat and meet living costs during the lockdown. The launch of the fund has been aided by a R6-million contribution from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, which invested in SweepSouth in 2019.

Yoco introduces guide: SA fintech Yoco has made available a Covid-19 Small Business Guide for business owners, with resources, information and online events to help small businesses to navigate through this challenging time. Meanwhile, Yoco CEO Katlego Maphai told TechCentral’s Duncan McLeod in a podcast yesterday how small businesses are facing the pandemic. He also revealed that the startup aims to launch virtual payment methods to meet customers’ needs.

$500k Covid-19 challenge: Singapore headquartered early-stage venture capital (VC) company Antler is inviting startups tackling the Covid-19 outbreak to apply for funding. Antler, which has an African office in Nairobi, plans to invest in up to five teams and deploy up to $500 000 in all five (see this story).

New privacy-first app: Cape Town and Berlin based venture builder The Delta has revealed that it is working with German non-profit initiative “Gesund Zussamen” (“Healthy-Together”) and that one of their startups, Via is developing a privacy-first app called IchHabs. The app, which is expected to be ready soon, will allow all citizens to track their Covid-19 status and allow completely anonymous access to their geo-location and their infection status for governments, companies and fellow citizens. “The goal is to track the virus, not the people,” commented Louis Buys, CEO of The Delta, in a statement.

Getsmarter co-founder offers scholarship: Former GetSmarter co-founder Rob Paddock’s Valenture Institute, a global online high school, has launched a scholarship programme for health-care workers’ children. The programme will look to offer a one year, tuition-free high school cohort for a learner worth at least R60 000 depending on the number of subjects and duration. The programme will allow a learner to join the June 2020 intake. “Our country’s health care providers are on the frontline of this pandemic, and at Valenture Institute, we feel it’s our responsibility to support those who are selflessly supporting the rest of us,” Paddock said in a statement yesterday.

Kenyan duo seek funding: Two Mombasa-based inventors, Simon Wafula and Edwin Amwoka are looking for funding for their innovative machine Automatic Hand Washer, that washes hands, Kenya’s Business Daily reported in an article today.

Read more: Covid-19 and African tech startups roundup [06/04/2020]
Read more: Covid-19 and African tech startups roundup [03/04/2020]
Read more: Covid-19 and African tech startups roundup [02/04/2020]
Read more: Covid-19 and African tech startups roundup [01/04/2020]

Featured image: SweepSouth co-founder Aisha Pandor (centre) (Supplied)

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