Recharging SA’s economy through investment in entrepreneurs

The Black Business Partners (BBP) Legacy Programme – set up by Old Mutual, Nedbank and Izingwe – has made a R3 million investment to back five aspiring salon owners (franchisees) to participate in an exciting new franchise that launched in Soweto’s Vilakazi Street on Saturday, 10 March 2018.

This is the latest commitment as part of the Programme’s ongoing drive to support South Africa’s economically critical Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) sector.

The SME sector in South Africa is regarded as an engine of economic growth and development, with the potential to accelerate transformation and alleviate the scourges targeted by the National Development Plan: poverty, unemployment and inequality.

The franchise, My Expressions Salons, plans to open five trendsetting hair salons across Gauteng with sites identified in Soweto, Alexandra, Tembisa, Soshanguve and Vosloorus. Apart from receiving financial support, the salons will benefit from a dynamic ecosystem of business support, capacity building and professional advice from franchisors and the BBP Legacy Programme.

As Old Mutual prepares for its return to the African continent with a primary listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) Ltd later this year, it is deepening its commitment and strengthening its support for entrepreneurship, the SME sector and job creation in South Africa.

The recommendation for approval by the Competition Commission to the Competition Tribunal for the newly incorporated Old Mutual Limited to acquire Old Mutual plc – with the conditions agreed to between Old Mutual Emerging Markets and the Economic Development Department (EDD) is a significant step towards the listing of Old Mutual Limited as a standalone entity this year. As part of the managed separation, Old Mutual will reduce its 54% shareholding in Nedbank to a 19,9% strategic minority.

Old Mutual Emerging Markets and the Economic Development Department have reached agreement in relation to three critical public interest issues that Old Mutual Limited will address: Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) Ownership, Employment and Enterprise and Supplier Development (ESD).

According to the Banking Association of South Africa, SMEs have been identified as productive drivers of inclusive economic growth and development in South Africa and globally. Some researchers have estimated that in SMEs in South Africa make up 91% of formalised businesses, provide employment to about 60% of the labour force and account for about 34% of GDP in total economic output.

Khanya Okumu, Enterprise Development Manager at Old Mutual, said: “What makes the launch that took place on Saturday so exciting is because demonstrates a highly effective way of empowering new businesses and entrepreneurs. It is a clear indication of the power of collaboration to create a nurturing ecosystem that drives both social and business value. We are proud of our growing role in supporting the economic revitalisation of our townships.”

Sipho Pityana, Executive Chairman of Izingwe, adds: “Our townships have seen a lot of entrepreneurial activity which has been marginalized or suffocated. Our partnership offers a realistic prospect for its mainstreaming as profitable businesses of scale.”

Successful township businesses help the broader community by providing better services, creating jobs and building vital skills in technology, customer service, as well as fundamental retail areas. Initiatives such as this are helping independent entrepreneurs to overcome the challenges, make their businesses successful and play a greater role in growing the economy.

Nedbank’s Executive of Strategy, Priya Naidoo, expressed her joy in seeing the fruits of the long hours spent with the partners in structuring a holistic support solution to support and grow aspiring entrepreneurs in the townships. “Nedbank’s transformation framework supports national strategic priorities such as small business development, and is underpinned by our purpose of using our financial expertise to do good for all stakeholders. The goal is to build a bank that contributes meaningfully to improving the lives of all South Africans. The Legacy Programme and the launch this weekend is just one of the proof points.”

Kim Thompson, Director of My Expressions, said the Franchisor believes the determination displayed by everyone involved, including the young stylists on the My Expressions team, bodes well for South Africa’s economic success. “Four years of extremely hard work have finally brought our dreams to life. These young stylists are genuine examples of entrepreneurship in its most sustainable form. They followed their dreams persistently, and it is inspiring to see them work every day improving their own lives and those of their communities.”

Okumu sums it up: “The South African landscape is changing and the launch event in Vilakazi Street, Soweto is an exciting example of what can be achieved when opportunity is seized and the right partners are on board.”

 

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