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Retail Capital Launches ChatSME to Empower South African Entrepreneurs


Retail Capital, a division of TymeBank, is revolutionising the landscape for South African entrepreneurs with ChatSME, a groundbreaking Large Language Model (LLM). This innovative AI model is designed to provide easy access to valuable knowledge and resources, catering to the vibrant SME (small and medium enterprises) community.

In today’s digital era, information is readily accessible through search engines, online learning platforms, and digital tools. However, concerns about data security and potential leaks have deterred business owners from fully embracing OpenAI platforms. Additionally, the costs associated with developing secure tools often pose barriers to entry.

Retail Capital has identified these challenges and launched ChatSME as an innovative solution to democratise access to information, expertise, and time-saving technology. This breakthrough technology empowers not only Retail Capital’s customers but all SMEs in South Africa to leverage the benefits of ChatGPT, Bard, and similar technologies while ensuring enhanced security, relevance, and up-to-date market information.

Erin Louw, Executive for Retail Capital Brand and HR, explains the rationale behind ChatSME: “Business owners are idea-rich, but they often lack time, resources, and specialised expertise. ChatSME offers a productive solution for content generation, handling routine tasks, and data analysis, facilitating informed business decisions.”

One distinguishing feature of ChatSME is its integration of Retail Capital’s 12-year content repository, encompassing blogs, white papers, books, survey results, press releases, and emails. This extensive library ensures that small business owners have instant access to tailored content specifically curated for the South African market.

Miguel da Silva, Managing Executive of Retail Capital, emphasises the significance of empowering SMEs: “SMEs contribute around 34% to our GDP and create jobs, vital for reducing unemployment. ChatSME acts like a dedicated Business Specialist, always available to address SME owners’ inquiries.”

The potential of ChatSME is akin to having a business expert at your disposal. Miguel further highlights its value: “ChatSME aids businesses in finding the right funding sources for growth.”

As ChatSME’s BETA testing continues, Retail Capital is gearing up for the phase 1 launch, aiming to make this groundbreaking tool readily accessible to South Africa’s dynamic SME community.

Large language models (LLMs) like ChatSME are poised to reshape how professionals seek information, potentially replacing traditional search engines. These models offer tailored insights in response to user inquiries, revolutionising the accessibility of relevant resources.

Karl Westvig, Chief Executive of Business Banking at TymeBank, expresses enthusiasm for this pioneering effort, stating, “We’re excited to offer this level of technology to South Africa’s SME community. ChatSME aligns with our mission to drive economic progress.”

Retail Capital’s ChatSME promises to usher in a new era of knowledge and planning for South African SMEs. With instant access to comprehensive information, SMEs now have a powerful tool to navigate their growth journey with confidence and clarity.



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