Entrepreneurs across South Africa are reaping the benefits, of big businesses increasingly embracing profit-with-purpose as critical to their long-term sustainability.
It’s a winning merger, said impact strategist and filmmaker Shani Kay, who stressed that this inclusive approach effectively translates to an ongoing commitment to help build small businesses to become a permanent feature in the supply chains of their bigger counterparts.
“SMMEs, at scale, are the key to our desired economic growth and job creation objectives; and so the biggest contribution that our listed sector can make is to help small business to thrive by providing them with both support and opportunities. This in turn creates a bigger, more diverse and more competitive supply chain alongside a bigger pool of economically active consumers” she explained.
Kay is the brains behind SA INC, a 20-part series airing on local TV channels throughout the year with the objective of changing the narrative in South Africa to highlight and celebrate the country’s successes and achievements through the stories of socio-economic transformation in the real day-to-day lives of its citizens.
Showcasing profit-with-purpose examples, she believes, will inspire more good practice that goes beyond only box-ticking “social responsibility” interventions.
Kay points to SA Breweries as an exceptional example of a company that is integral to the fabric of South African society, dedicated to changing the lives of people and their communities.
SAB Senior Corporate Affairs director Zoleka Lisa said the company committed in 2016 to invest R1billion over five years in its Public Interest Commitment (PIC) programme, 61% of which is focused on agriculture.
This local sourcing strategy saw them significantly boost the barley yield of North West farmer Mapula Vivian Seboko, among others, winning her the title of 2018 Emerging Farmer of the Year.
Lisa said SAB also committed a further R200milion to build sustainable enterprises within the communities in which they operate.
Providing invaluable coaching and financial support to their small business partners, the programme has benefited people like Johannesburg hydroponic rooftop farmer Fezile Msomi and businesses such as Kevali Chemicals. Started by Funeka Khumalo, a female entrepreneur from Gugulethu, Kevali provides customised solutions in the chemical industry that focus on hygiene and sanitation, water treatment and adhesives.
Since her participation in the SAB Accelerator, Kevali has experienced 30% annual growth, with a credible list of customers that includes SAB and other multinationals, as well as a mission to inspire young girls across South Africa that it is possible to follow their dreams and succeed
Lisa describes enterprise development as a key channel to address not only South Africa’s unemployment challenge, but also to maximise exports and minimise imports. Local sourcing is an integral part of the programme, and the organization currently sources 97% of all materials in the production of their products locally.
“SAB is focusing on the inclusion of black-owned businesses in its supply chain, and ensuring it has a healthy pipeline of suppliers that represent the demographics of South Africa,” she explained. This speaks to its commitment to contributing to the transformation of previously disadvantaged individuals, which is key to developing an inclusive economy.
South Africa, said Kay, is starting to see an increase in these innovative business models, which deliver profitable returns and societal value in synergy.
“It marks a critical move from a business focus on double-digit growth that can only result in an environment of ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’. Companies are now re-identifying their purpose, redefining their values, and reconnecting with a human-centric approach to doing business that will see them into a sustainable future” she said.