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


As #SMEs pivot to digital, @MastercardMEA has partnered with @PayFast to host 'Empowering Every Business SME Masterclass', a free virtual webinar on 23 November to help entrepreneurs future-proof their e-commerce businesses.



· Mastercard has partnered with online payment 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 Harrison, Head 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.


Event overview

Accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, e-commerce is booming, and entrepreneurs everywhere are talking about starting or growing their business online.

Through the event, Mastercard and PayFast are embracing small businesses that are accepting this change, that have gone online and are growing digital – adopting the technology and solutions that help to maintain and grow revenues through multiple scenarios.


Under the theme, ‘The New Age of Digital Entrepreneurs: Growth Re-loaded’, Mastercard and PayFast have teamed up to host a virtual masterclass. This session brings together some of South Africa’s incisive business and management gurus – including Vusi Thembekwayo and Lebo Lion – who will share their tips and experience on how to boost your business, mitigate risks, and take the "new normal" by storm!


At the end of the event participants would have learnt about humanising their brand using the digital marketing mix, improving customer experience, optimising their small business through digital transformation, tackling risks and grabbing new opportunities and will also discover the ultimate online toolbox.


What participants will learn

· Humanise your brand using the digital marketing mix: Lebo Lion will share pointers on how to humanise your brand, grab attention online and convert your digital marketing efforts into sales. · Building a Web 3.0 Business: Vusi Thembekwayo will share insights on how to scale a business in the post-covid-19 world and how you can create market-beating value. · Improve your customer experience: Understand the latest trends, learn what consumers want and how you can deliver an end-to-end customer experience. · Optimise your small business: Learn more about digital transformation strategies and get some practical advice on how you can manage better manage your cashflow. · Tackle risks and grab new opportunities: Find out how other small businesses are overcoming challenges, unlocking new opportunities, keeping their client’s engagement, and maintaining profitability in our rapidly changing market. · Discover the ultimate online toolbox: Become familiar with the essential digital tools and free resources that’ll support your online transition and growth –including how to protect your business from cybersecurity threats.




Time Session

11h00 Welcome: Anita Opperman, Mastercard

11h05 Humanise your brand using the digital marketing mix: Lebo Lion

11h20 Building a Web 3.0 Business: Vusi Thembekwayo

11h40 Panel Discussion (40 minutes): Seizing the moment - uncovering growth opportunities for digital entrepreneurs · Anita Opperman, Mastercard · Celeste le Roux, madebyartisans · Colleen Harrison, PayFast Moderator: Vusi Thembekwayo

12h20 Questions and Answers

12h25 Close: Colleen Harrison, PayFast



Speaker bios


Vusi Thembekwayo, venture capitalist, best-selling author, renowned entrepreneur, and global speaker

Vusi Thembekwayo is a venture capitalist, best selling author, renowned entrepreneur, and global speaker who was named one of the top 12 speakers in the world by MeetingsNet for his inspirational and transformational impact on businesses.

Vusi has worked in 37 countries across six continents, helping leaders make necessary but painful shifts in their businesses. He is a regular contributor to CNBC and Forbes and has appeared on BBC, CNN and Bloomberg.

Vusi Thembekwayo understands the strategic nature of his work and catalyzes business growth, stimulates necessary sea-changes, and inspires motivation essential for leaders to take bold action.

Vusi has been a professional business speaker for the past 16 years and has worked across 6 of the 7 continents.

Some of his accolades over the years include but not limited to GQ award in 2020 for Business Leader of the Year, building an extensive free education platform for entrepreneurs which reached over 519 000 verified unique entrepreneurs across 23 countries on 5 continents using social media and online learning platforms and a recognition by the United Nations as one of the 100 most influential Africans in 2018.

Celeste le Roux, co-founder madebyartisans


Celeste le Roux is the co-owner of madebyartisans, an online marketplace that sells a wide range of South African products and supports the local artisans who make them.

Prior to this, Celeste worked in the tourism industry for over 20 years, where she had specialised in selling to and arranging luxury African safaris to the international market.

At the onset of the pandemic when travel was impacted, Celeste founded madebyartisans together with her partner Mark Knijnenburg to earn an alternate income, while also helping other South Africans who found themselves in the same predicament to sell their wares through an online platform.

After running the business from home for the last 18 months, Mark and Celeste have now expanded the business to include a storage unit for stock and moved to an office location in central Paarl.

They are also currently recruiting their first staff member.

Celeste currently lives in the Cape Winelands with Mark, her 10-year-old daughter and several pets.

Anita Opperman, Director, Commercial Sales Specialist, Mastercard


Anita Opperman is a Director, Commercial Sales Specialist at Mastercard and is responsible for market development and driving new business across various financial institutions, fintech’s and travel management companies.

Over the past 5 years she has assisted banks in driving pipeline conversion and sharing best practice within the card and payments industry with a strong focus on SMEs, Travel and Entertainment and Business to Business Payments.

Previously employed at Nedbank Card, Anita was the National Sales and Travel Manager - Corporate Card Issuing and has extensive experience in Sales, Service and Channel management within Issuing and Acquiring.

Anita qualified as a Financial Advisor with Liberty Life and has obtained FAIS Accreditation. She has also completed Junior and Senior Management courses with Gordon Institute of Business Science and a Diploma in Marketing Management.

Anita’s sales success has been achieved by excellent client and banker relationships as well as strong card product solutions knowledge.

Her key competencies include strong communication and relationship management and leadership skills.

Colleen Harrison, Head of Marketing, PayFast


With a career in digital marketing spanning across 15 years and a passion for tech, Colleen has found her calling at the South African online payments company PayFast, where she heads up the marketing team.

Always up for a new adventure, Colleen has lived in 4 countries across 3 continents, working in sectors ranging from retail to government.

Now settled in Cape Town with her husband and two children, she is excited about the future of e-commerce in South Africa and the role that fintech plays in enabling financial inclusion, economic growth and innovation across the continent.






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. Visit Follow us on Twitter: @MastercardMEA and @MastercardNews


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


Communications contacts Mastercard: Birgit Deibele, [email protected] PayFast: Ciaran Maidwell, [email protected]


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