ProfitShare Partners celebrates 1 200 jobs created, aiming for next 10 000

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Six years. 1 200 permanent jobs. 3 000 Jobs sustained. R1.5-billion worth of deals. 100% capital provided quickly, mostly with no financials, security or track record. 389% average annual growth rate for its clients. May is birthday time at ProfitShare Partners and the numbers are truly amazing.

“As we look forward to celebrating six years of ProfitShare Partners making massive strides towards growing South Africa’s vital SME sector, some of the numbers still thrill us,” says Andrew Maren, founder and CEO of the fintech that has partnered to not just keep small and medium-sized enterprises afloat, but enabled them to thrive.

A man with a unique combination of business banker and entrepreneurial spirit, Maren’s background provided the insight into how banks view and manage risk and why they approached risk the way they do.

“I first learned how financial institutions such as banks operate from a structural perspective and why regulatory constraints limit their lending abilities, especially to the SME sector,” he says.

“Once I understood these restrictions, my serial entrepreneur kicked in and I set about combing through every detail and creating possible ways to open doors for SMEs.”

Twenty years of corporate and business experience and countless hours of drawing up solutions, reviewing them and – as with all disruptors – scrapping plans in favour of better ideas, Maren launched ProfitShare Partners in May 2017, with its very first deal sealed in June the same year.

A revolutionary vision

Every idea was rooted in Maren’s determination to help SMEs grow and develop jobs but, he says, “We didn’t realise how impactful we would be in this space. We also thought we would raise more money privately, but were pleasantly surprised to get support from some of the biggest banks and institutions locally and globally.

“We quickly realised these large institutions also had the desire to generate a positive impact by helping to develop and grow SMEs and enable job creation.”

ProfitShare Partner’s initial vision was to assist clients with around R1-billion worth of deals in three years, Maren says, noting that this gargantuan task actually took five years.

“Initially, we wanted to become a global player within five years but will only be launching our next office in North America later this year.” This is no mean feat in a market as vibrant and challenging as the financial sector with new banks, fintechs and SMEs growing and going in equal measure.

Achievements in human terms

A look at PSP from its inception to its 6th birthday shows a common thread throughout. Maren’s original plan has been unwavering, and is his greatest achievement so far: “We were determined to create jobs. This remains my own and the PSP team’s primary focus.

“Being an integral part of creating more than 1,200 new permanent jobs and seeing the number of SMEs we have been able to assist to continue to grow, employ and succeed is one of the most enriching experiences any CEO could hope for.

“Certainly for me, the most rewarding experience is to see a client that you helped grow into a big, robust business. Whether you’re a banker or an entrepreneur, helping others achieve their dreams has to be one of the most gratifying things you can do,” Maren asserts.

With the agility of a fintech and six years of non-stop refining and engendering SME growth, ProfitShare Partners has plans for the immediate future and beyond that do not include resting on laurels. “Our next goal is to assist our clients close out over R10-billion rands of deals directly, and help create 10,000 jobs within the next six years.”

A tall order – but Maren and his team know the difference between a birthday wish and a total commitment to an SME’s Big Idea. His advice, in the face of all financial situations: “If your Big Idea is something that you are really passionate about, you must follow the dream and work to make it a reality.

“Importantly, contribute positively to our world – or risk living a life of regret knowing that you didn’t try.”

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