Meet the small town businesses doing big things for our economy.

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The small economy

The small towns you drive through on the way to the big cities have a secret. Our economy is often imagined as the flashy office blocks in Sandton or celebrated startups in Cape Town. But the secret is that the essential parts of the South African economy spring from towns like Arniston, Louis Trichardt and Empangeni. 

Entrepreneurs here are building the small economy and in turn making the ‘big’ economy work. These are the stories of small town South Africa, of people who choose to make it work, where they are, with what they have.

The small towns you drive through on the way to the big cities have a secret. Our economy is often imagined as the flashy office blocks in Sandton or celebrated startups in Cape Town. But the secret is that the essential parts of the South African economy spring from towns like Arniston, Louis Trichardt and Empangeni. 

Far from being dead towns and retirement villages, these places are the lifeblood of the country’s economy. In a small watchmaker’s workshop, at the brick-layer’s construction site or in a canteen in a seemingly sleepy town.

Entrepreneurs here are building the small economy and in turn making the ‘big’ economy work. These are the stories of small town South Africa, of people who choose to make it work, where they are, with what they have.

“What I realised in the business world is you don’t have to have money to do business. As long as you got two hands, a mouth, and a head. Because the business is not in the purse, the business is in the head.”

– Willeen of Willeen’s Arts and Crafts in Arniston

#DiscoverSmall

Discover the big stories of small businesses in small towns, and help us put a spotlight on them by sharing their stories.

Small Business, Big Numbers

The proof is in the numbers. Small town businesses account for 30% of all Yoco customers and are one of the fastest growing geographic customer segments. Small is the new big.

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Yoco customers in small towns.

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Total transactions by Yoco customers in small towns in 2019.

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Yoco small town customers who grew with a Yoco Capital advance in 2019.

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Distributed Yoco Capital in small towns in 2019.

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We’re not big on big, we’re big on small. With the launch of the new Yoco Go card machine we’re looking to remove barriers for entrepreneurs and help them get paid. See how you could win one of 50 Yoco Go’s for your business.

 

#TheNextSmallThing

Contributors: Nomathemba Nkosi, Noluthando Pupuma, Vasanthie Naidoo, Faizel Emam, Thobekile Masuku, Michael Smith, Elizabeth Van Der Walt, Solomon Mananga, Willene De Villiers, Louis Petrus Nigrini, Wynand Burger, Gené Strauss, Rudolf du Preez, Ronel Germishuys, Carolyn Malan, Rudolph Dante, Pierre Versfeld, Chantal Bezuidenhuit, Marice Mercuur, Phillip Modiba, Paballo Motsifane, Ben Schempers, Jan Potgieter, Suné Van Jaarsveld, Karen Bezuidenhout, Hendrik Eksteen, Yanick Bathfield, Matthew Brownell, Gregor Rohrig, Robyn Viljoen, Lunika Phillip, Caitlyn Leigh, Gugulethu Hlekwayo and Elton Dick.

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