Mastercard and PayFast host masterclass to help SMEs start or grow a resilient online business

November 17, 2021 | Johannesburg, South Africa

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  • Mastercard has partnered with online gateway PayFast to host a free virtual Masterclass for SMEs looking to start or grow a business online
  • Masterclass brings together some of South Africa’s incisive business and management gurus – including Vusi Thembekwayo and Lebo Lion – who will share insights on how SMEs can start or grow their business online, mitigate risks, and thrive in the new normal

Johannesburg, South Africa – 17 November 2021: As small businesses accelerate digital transformation efforts in response to the pandemic, Mastercard has partnered with online gateway PayFast to host “Empowering Every Business SME Masterclass” – a free virtual webinar designed to help entrepreneurs future-proof their e-commerce businesses in an increasingly digital world.

Under the theme ‘The New Age of Digital Entrepreneurs: Growth Re-loaded’, the masterclass brings together some of South Africa’s incisive business and management gurus who will share insights on how SMEs can start or grow their business online, mitigate risks, and take the “new normal” by storm.

Vusi Thembekwayo – a venture capitalist, best-selling author, renowned entrepreneur and global business speaker – will share insights on how SMEs can ‘Build a Web 3.0 Business’ and create market-beating value in a post Covid-19 world. Award-winning entrepreneur, speaker, coach and business influencer Lebo Lion will share tips on how SMEs can humanise their brand using the digital marketing mix. This will be followed by a panel discussion where Anita Opperman, Director: Commercial Sales Specialist at Mastercard South Africa, Celeste le Roux, co-founder of madebyartisans, and Colleen HarrisonHead of Marketing at PayFast, will discuss the opportunities and tools that SMEs can tap to grow their e-commerce businesses.

“Small businesses are the backbone of local communities and an engine of growth for the South African economy. Because of this, it’s never been more important to ensure that entrepreneurs and small business owners have access to the educational resources, insights, tools and solutions to recover from the impacts of the pandemic and truly thrive. The SME masterclass is the latest in our efforts to deliver on the needs of these critical businesses so they can unlock their full potential in today’s digital economy,” says Anita Opperman, Specialist Director for Commercial Sales, Mastercard, South Africa.

E-commerce has been a boon for small businesses since March 2020, largely due to consumers’ rapid adoption of online shopping and digital services as they opt to shop from the safety of their homes. According to a Mastercard study on consumer spending, 68% of South African consumers are shopping more online since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, and 63% say that they are making a conscious effort to shop online at small businesses.

“E-commerce has boomed, and competition amidst SMEs has intensified as a new wave of arrivals have been born out of the Covid-19 pandemic. Through this partnership with Mastercard, we will be able to open new possibilities for SMEs by providing them with much needed expertise that will help them to start or grow their businesses online. This is of critical importance for SMEs, especially during these trying times where most businesses have been negatively affected by the pandemic,” says Colleen Harrison, Head of Marketing at PayFast.

The SME Masterclass follows a two-month campaign between Mastercard and PayFast earlier this year designed to encourage South Africans to shop online at local businesses, while putting a spotlight on small business and the inspiring entrepreneurs behind them. The aim of the campaign was to elevate SMEs and their ingenuity, inspiring South Africans to get behind local businesses through safe and convenient online shopping.

Event details

The SME Masterclass will take place virtually on 23 November at 11h00 – 12h30. SMEs can sign up for the free masterclass here. Space is limited to 1000 people. 

Media Contacts

Birgit Deibele, Mastercard
Ciaran Maidwell, PayFast

About PayFast

In 2019 PayFast became part of the DPO Group, spurring the growth of the largest African payment service provider. As South Africa’s leading online payment gateway, the company enables easy, secure, and instant transactions helping online businesses succeed in the digital economy. PayFast offers merchants a variety of payment methods to better serve their customers including Masterpass, credit cards, Instant EFT, debit card, Mobicred and Scode. For more information visit

About Mastercard (NYSE: MA)

Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses realize their greatest potential. Our decency quotient, or DQ, drives our culture and everything we do inside and outside of our company. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all.

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