Diageo SA, a subsidiary of premium drinks producer, has established the Diageo Empowerment Trust SA.
The Trust aims to stimulate community economies, create local jobs and ultimately increase the national gross domestic product.
“South Africa needs to create a new generation of entrepreneurs who will provide the growth and opportunities to bring more people into the mainstream economy,” says Sinethemba Mafanya, Diageo Empowerment Trust SA Manager.
“We have set up the trust not only to get entrepreneurs into the economy, but also to maximise their chances of success.”
Mafanya explains that Diageo Empowerment Trust SA will take an active approach to its empowerment investments. It will not simply provide finance, but will support these businesses through mentorship and integrating them into its own supply chain, thus ensuring growth that is sustainable over the long term.
In pursuit of its goals, the Diageo Empowerment Trust SA has three initiatives. The first is aimed at helping communities to become sorghum farmers. The initiative enables promising sorghum famers to compete and capture local market through the Diageo’s subsidiary United National Breweries. The Trust is already working with identified farmers in the Eastern Cape, and will move into other provinces in due course.
“Sorghum is a raw material for Diageo, so we are in a position to provide a market for these farmers,” notes Mafanya.
“This initiative aims to build on existing skills in our rural economy, and create businesses that can compete in bigger markets and provide jobs where they are needed.”
Through this initiative the Trust intend to create 300 jobs in the agriculture sector and a substantial amount of capital will be injected into the supply chain over a five-year period.
The Trust’s second initiative expands beyond agriculture to identify and support companies that are 100% owned by black females, and that can be integrated into the Diageo supply chain. Areas of interest include the manufacture and growth of raw materials, bottling, glass and co-packaging, as well as marketing.With the ZAR15 million that the Trust has already invested in this initiative, it is targeting to generate ZAR250m in revenue in five-years.
In this initiative, the Trust is partnering with WDB, an empowerment consultancy, and Aurik Business Accelerator, which is focused on helping entrepreneurial businesses succeed. WDB will help identify qualifying companies that could provide non-core products and services to Diageo.
The final initiative is to identify and nurture tomorrow’s social entrepreneurs. Because these companies are primarily focused on solving social problems, not profit, they are uniquely well positioned to have the greatest possible impact on South Africa.
“We have just announced our first round of funding and support to 12 social entrepreneurs, who will share ZAR10 million,” he says.
“What distinguishes this group is not only the impact that they can make on our society, but also the difference our financial contribution will make to their long-term success. We are confident that we have identified some of the next generation of influential social entrepreneurs. It is an investment in our joint future,” says Mafanya.
“We want the entrepreneurs with whom we partner to be the best, to the benefit of our company, when they join our supply chain, and to the benefit of the entire country, when they create jobs and help overcome social challenges. By supporting entrepreneurial excellence, we will be helping people unlock their potential to achieve even greater things,” concludes Mafanya.