When Lungisa and his partners were starting Yoco, they found that cost models for traditional credit card machines – which could only be rented from the bank – were sky high. They set about designing a system where small businesses, such as coffee shop owners, which could only afford to operate in cash, could now buy a card reader and start transacting with card-paying customers right away.
Now, in the run up to the Cape Town Coffee Festival, consumers will be delighted to know that Yoco and the South African coffee-shop niche are inextricably linked.
“Coffee shops are hubs of connectivity and networking. Coffee shop owners tend to be tech-savvy, due to the reliable wi-fi they need to offer customers. And they need card readers and point-of-sale devices that work rapidly and simply,” says Lungisa.
For Yoco, coffee shops were an early focus while they were growing their merchant base and, today, they service over 40 000 merchants in total. “Coffee shops build a community of clients for other entrepreneurs; in fact, many small-business owners choose to work at their nearest café for the networking and great vibe it provides,” says Lungisa.
Living in Africa has its challenges, one of these being the constant threat of power outages. “It’s so important to be prepared in advance of these occurring,” says Lungisa. “We tell our customers to charge their card readers and tablets regularly, and to buy an extra SIM should data become an issue.” He also recommends that his coffee merchants and other customers look into generators for their essential equipment.
Over the lifespan of a business, Yoco offers five different types of support: Yoco Meets, where entrepreneurs can network and inspire each other; card readers; a business portal that reports on how a business is doing; point-of-sale devices, where itemised sales can be tracked; and Yoco capital, where a cash advance is granted to a business owner.
There are incredible opportunities in the small business space and this organisation is excited by the growth they are witnessing, despite the country’s political and economic uncertainty. Lungisa defines this as opening up and growing a traditionally dark space; making the small business niche more visible and allowing it to gain its rightful voice.
“We do a quarterly survey, Business Pulse, making use of the data provided by our customer base,” concludes Lungisa. “Small business in South Africa is experiencing a noticeable upswing. It is resilient and energetic – and coffee shops are a big part of that.”
Yoco will be providing card readers at the upcoming Cape Town Coffee Festival and they are, quite aptly, also sponsoring its Small Business Lab.
Find out more about The Small Business Lab here. For more on Yoco, go to: https://www.yoco.co.za/za/