Getting a small business off the ground and keeping it afloat can be difficult if not armed with adequate cashflow. New Zealand is ripe with business start-ups, but many struggle to stay ahead, and it’s often due to financial constraints.
This is the case for many customers of kiwi peer-to-peer lending platform Harmoney. In fact, it seems that more and more Kiwis are tapping into a DIY mentality and going out on their own, as funds for business start-ups and general business cashflow now makes up more than 15% of Harmoney’s loan applications, making it the fifth most popular loan reason.
Harmoney estimates that $100 million will be loaned to business accounts via the platform within the next six to 12 months. Currently, the average loan amount for business cashflow via the Harmoney platform is $25,000.
Kiwi entrepreneur Tracey Steel, whose latest product innovation is now sold in stores nationwide, credits part of her success to being able to access quick and easy finance via Harmoney.
“I’ve relied on peer-to-peer for various personal and business purposes,” Tracey says. “I’ve turned to Harmoney for everything from weddings, to tax payments, to cars, but my most recent loan went towards setting up my small business on the side: Stabler and Steel, Sauce Magic – Black.”
“I’d been making my sauce at home for years, and was prompted by friends and family to start bottling and selling it. I was hesitant to begin with, because in order to be sold in retail stores it needs to be made in a commercial kitchen, and of course, that takes a bit of money to set up. But then I remembered the success I’d had with Harmoney in the past and thought right, I’ll give it a shot.”
“What I like about Harmoney is that I know the interest I pay is going to someone who is wanting to help out another New Zealander. It’s person-to-person, Kiwi-to-Kiwi, and I’d much rather that than have my money going to a big corporate bank.”
Stabler and Steel, Sauce Magic – Black is Tracey’s original recipe, and is similar in taste to Worcestershire sauce, but with a twist. It is now sold in deli/artisan food stores throughout the country.
Another Kiwi woman with a foodie dream, Velda Fox looked to Harmoney to secure her entrepreneurial future. “I found what I thought was the perfect RV to undergo a food truck transformation, and I needed the money quick to secure the purchase.
“I didn’t have time to deal with the long horrendous process of borrowing from a bank. I needed a loan fast, so I went online,” says Velda. “I couldn’t believe how simple the Harmoney process was, and how quickly the money was in my account.”
However, the start-up phase for Da Munch Box food truck hasn’t been as smooth sailing.
“After securing the RV, I was told by the refurbishing company it was not suitable whatsoever to become a food truck! Thankfully, I had leftover money from my Harmoney loan so I used that to buy another truck.
“I hit another road block when I noticed bellows of smoke coming from the generator in the truck while out on a job. The battery in the back had tipped over, and the truck was on fire!”
A year later, Velda and her team have built Da Munch Box truck back up again from scratch. They’re now not only a food truck, but a busy catering company, providing Kiwi food with a twist such as paua wontons and mussel fritters for events all over the country.
Andrew Cathie, data scientist at Harmoney says, “While debt consolidation is still the number one reason people use the Harmoney platform, we are finding a lot more businesses are taking advantage of the sites ease of use for start-up purposes, general business cashflow and even to fund tax payments.”
Harmoney continues to provide loans for various ventures nationwide; from funding irrigation systems in avocado orchards to increase harvest volume, to replacing a crashed-drone the day before a wedding shoot for an aerial photography company.