ICT group EOH makes a compelling case, in its claim to be a level three BBBEE contributor.
In an environment where empowerment verification agencies seem to be dishing out high BBBEE levels at every turn, each statement of empowerment credentials deserves to be treated with caution.
A glance through EOH’s latest statement of financial results sets the group apart from its peers through a BBBEE address that oozes essence and less the usual dry compliance form. This essence can also be smelled from the group’s ambitious job creation campaign which reveals a piece of EOH soul.
Positioned as one of the largest implementers of enterprise applications in South Africa, EOH’s noise on the empowerment front seems to be premised on a winning business formula, a totalised strategy if one can call it that. The numbers speak for themselves. In the year ended July, the group reported a staggering 50% increase in revenue to R3.6bn and profit before tax shot up 45% to R339.9m.
EOH CEO Asher Bohbot said the group’s success is largely attributable to its unfailing business philosophy that is centred around people. “We have always strived to attract, develop and retain the best people in the industry with the purpose of creating life-long, mutually beneficial partnerships with our customers and partners. Doing things right first time epitomises what we do at EOH”.
One thing which the group did right was to take care of its BBBEE credentials at an early stage. This could explain a share of the success but as Bohbot pointed out it boils down to philosophy and we may add that commercial success is logical if the fundamentals are taken care of, if the soul is correctly shaped.
A piece of EOH’s soul can be viewed from an initiative which places the group at the centre of an ambitious job creation initiative. The group is galvanising its peers and other stakeholders to go on a job creation drive.
As a South African enterprise EOH has the responsibility to actively contribute its knowledge and resources to improve Public Sector effectiveness, says Bohbot. “The Public Sector represents a major business opportunity and will form part of our future growth. I am also happy to say that our job creation initiative is gaining momentum. With the assumption that skills equal jobs, we have embarked on a learnership programme whereby 620 young people will be given the opportunity to participate in year-long, learnership and trainee programmes.”
“We are working with our international partners and large customers on plans to avoid sending jobs overseas and to rather bring global jobs to South Africa. We are also lobbying government to create regulations and incentives to keep jobs in South Africa and to bring more opportunities to our shores. To support this point of view, EOH has initiated an off-shoring business, in addition to creating an internal role for job creation,” says Bohbot.
The company plans to continue growing both organically and acquisitively. The main growth areas include infrastructure and application managed services, cloud offerings, enterprise applications, information management, business process outsourcing, security and intelligent infrastructure.
Bohbot added that “EOH is now the strongest player in the IT arena with 4700 people, 3500 customers, good brand, strong reputation for delivery capabilities and a very healthy financial standing. EOH has the widest offerings in our industry”.
He added that EOH is certified as a Large Enterprise Level 3 Contributor with BEE Procurement Recognition of 138% as a value adding vendor. EOH’s current black shareholding is 37,47%. 57% of EOH’s staff and 60% of its board members are black.
EOH’s Corporate Social Investment initiatives are focused around education and wellness. “One of our community involvement projects is the Maths Centre Programme which has its primary object to equip teachers with skills to develop learner competency in maths. We have also given our support to The Child and Youth Development Programme of Afrika Tikkun. This programme provides support to youth during their school career and assists them in finding employment in the workplace. During this year EOH has spent R3,7 million on CSI initiatives. Our Enterprise Development initiatives are aimed at developing black owned ICT companies through financial and non-financial support which includes the transfer of business skills. EOH has spent R21,1 million in the form of loans and training on Enterprise Development”.
EOH has 620 trainees participating in a yearlong graduate and school leavers’ programme and has spent R8,4 million on this programme so far and is committed to spending a further R7,8 million over the next six months.
Here in lies a compelling story of empowerment.