Ways for business sector to build resilient communities

Nozizwe Main Image

By Nozizwe Vundla, head of the Sanlam Foundation

In the past decade alone, Sanlam has invested around R630 million in the financial resilience of Africans. We believe the business sector has a responsibility to holistically support communities to be sustainable in the long-term. This requires a 360-degree approach which empowers people to empower themselves. Ultimately, it’s about building capacity and confidence. There are a million moments that encapsulate this.

A teacher who feels renewed passion in her subject. A child who masters multiplications.

A parent who feels extreme pride dropping his daughter off at a clean, fully functioning school. An entrepreneur hiring her first employee. These moments of seemingly small success contribute to a bigger picture of a country where people are set up to succeed. To live their best possible lives.

This is the guiding light that informs our mission to do good. We know that where there’s collective will and coordinated action, there is hope. We have the privilege of partnering with leaders across the NGO and public sectors. Together, we can effect deep change. We can tap into the ingenuity of Africa’s people to develop creative solutions to shared problems. We can make a difference for generations to come.

Here are some of the ways Sanlam believes the business sector can support communities, based on our experience (see below).

Ways the business sector can support communities

Foster a sustainable future for the next generation

Every year, almost 450 000 children benefit from our numeracy, reading and financial literacy projects. Our Sanlam Foundation is deeply committed to education, from foundational phase up. Globally, there’s a dearth of digital-age skills. In South Africa, this skills gap could be detrimental to our young people. Businesses need to invest in growing the capabilities they require. A country that is proficient in maths literacy is better equipped to economically prosper. That means supporting educators as well. Sanlam Blue Ladder Schools have assisted 2000 teachers to date, with a 7-10% average improvement in numeracy levels in the schools we operate in.

Create a supportive environment for SMEs

Small, medium, and micro enterprises (SMMEs) are the backbone of South Africa’s economy and crucial to amending the country’s dire unemployment figures. Our entrepreneurs are our game changers. Their success means our success.

Sanlam Enterprise and Supplier Development Programme:

  • Over the past 7 years, our ESD programme has:
  • Catalysed 356 new jobs
  • Sustained 2130 existing jobs
  • Generated average revenue growth of 24% for participating businesses
  • We have spent almost R48 million on procurement directed to our programme beneficiaries, and close to 20 000 hours on business development support. All the businesses on our programme are 100% black owned.

Consumer Financial Education

We have reached more than 50 000 beneficiaries through the CFE programmes we have sponsored. Our beneficiaries were reached via worksites, labour unions, local community forums and universities. The Saver Waya Waya WageWise financial literacy programme of the ASISA Foundation is our flagship programme and has been almost exclusively funded by the Sanlam Foundation since its launch in 2015.

Combat unemployment

This is a mammoth task that will take collective action, especially in the aftermath of COVID-19. One of the ways we’re contributing is by being part of the CEO Initiative, which sees leaders from all sectors of society commit to driving positive economic change. To date, the initiative has established the SME Fund, Youth Employment Service (YES), ISFAP (Ikusasa Student Financial Aid Programme) and the Black Industrialist Programme. We have contributed R45 million and have pledged our continued support.

Focusing on water security

Memories of the drought and Day Zero remain top-of-mind. Research suggests the country may run short of 3 000 billion litres of water per year by 2030. Communities need easy access to resources like water to prosper in the long-term. We must focus on water security, which is what Sanlam has been doing through our longstanding World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) partnership.

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