POLLEN, the Stellenbosch-based online business lender specialising in small to medium enterprises (SMEs), says it wants to drastically change the SME business lending space — a sector traditionally underserved by South African banks.The company, which started operating eight months ago, has done R100m in loans, 65% of which are repeat business.The idea behind Pollen is to give entrepreneurs and SME business owners fast business loans via an online application and vetting platform. Pollen business loans range from R50,000 to R1.5m.The company believes that making it easier for SMEs to access funding will boost the sector, which was identified by the government as a key jobs driver.While the National Development Plan (NDP) — the government's blueprint for eliminating poverty and reducing inequality — has set ambitious goals for the SME sector, entrepreneurs continue to face challenges such as red tape, a lack of access to finance and the high cost of doing business.Pollen CEO Louis du...

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