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  • Online business registrations are surging in South Africa, FNB says.
  • The dire financial consequences for many during South Africa's lockdown have forced business owners to change their strategies and business plans in order to survive, it believes.
  • Many have used the lockdown period to either open their own personal services, or to formalise existing business for relief funding and operating permits.
  • For more stories visit Business Insider South Africa.

Online business registrations are surging in South Africa, says First National Bank, as South Africans change course to adapt to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on traditional businesses.

The country’s strict lockdown meant that mining and manufacturing ground to a halt for weeks. The impact on the hospitality sector was also devastating, resulting in job losses for many South Africans and a sharp economic decline.

See also: No, the SA economy didn’t shrink by 51% - here’s what you need to know about the GDP numbers

The dire financial consequences for many have forced business owners to change their strategies and business plans in order to survive, with many using the lockdown period to either open their own personal services, or to formalise existing business for relief funding and operating permits, the bank believes.

FNB data shows an increase in the number of businesses using a government initiative where entrepreneurs use the BizPortal.gov.za website to register their new businesses at the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC).

Gauteng led with 44% of applications followed by KwaZulu-Natal at 13%, Mpumalanga at 10%, and the Western Cape at 9%.

See also: SA’s ‘clearly crazy’ official new unemployment number – what you need to know 

“We are seeing a strong uptake through this portal as well as an increase in applications through our normal CIPC interactions, where clients can register a company on FNB’s website. This indicates that more and more entrepreneurs want to formalise their businesses in order take advantage of new opportunities presented as a result of Covid and further benefit from financial support provided by both private and public sector,” says Lauren Deva, head of sales for transactional products at FNB Business.

“When the BizPortal started, we initially had an average of 700 registrations a month. However, this significantly increased to 14,000 registrations during the lockdown period, between April and end of August. On average 2,800 businesses were registered per month via the portal,” says Deva.

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