BBC and NEF promise stronger BEE muscle

The Black Business Council (BBC) has promised to up the ante in its struggle to transform the South African economy after receiving a R3m grant from the National Empowerment Fund (NEF).

The NEF announced the BBC grant this week saying it was in line with its objective of promoting transformation and growth of the South African economy. The BBC was re-established early this year after, black business associations decided to pull out of the multiracial business lobby federation called BUSA.

Speaking at the announcement of the grant NEF CEO Philisiwe Buthelezi said “The NEF and BBC are fraternal partners because they seek to bring about the growth and transformation of the South African economy, ensuring that black people are located meaningfully at the strategic and operational centre of the economy.

She said the grant is given to support consolidation of the BBC’s technical capacity and its national campaigns and advocacy work.

She said research shows that black people, “who comprise over 90% of the population, own about 3% of the South African economy in terms of market capitalization on the JSE.  What this means is that B-BBEE is not an option, and remains a critical obligation and an imperative which requires the broadest range of partnerships in order to restore the economic citizenship of black people, commensurate with national demographics”.

BBC President, Ndaba Ntsele said “The role of the BBC is to promote and facilitate the effective participation of black entrepreneurs across all levels of the economy.  This grant funding by the NEF will enable the BBC to establish foundational structures and to build capacity so that we may optimize our effectiveness in policy-formulation, and thereby increase our ability to roll out critical national campaigns”.

Xolani Qubeka, Chief Executive of the BBC, comments: “the BBC is very pleased and humbled to partner with the NEFin the drive to accelerate enterprise development and scale up SMMEs into the mainstream economy and this collaboration will add impetus to the BBC’s recently established Black Industrialist Development Forum that would also encompass the Department of Trade and Industry”.

Buthelezi added that the NEF’s partnership with BBC will help “grow black industrialists across many sectors of the economy, and to tackle our country’s huge industrial backlog by pursuing opportunities in the economic value chain in critical infrastructure and industries, through existing and new enterprises.  These sectors include Renewable Energy, Tourism, Mining, Minerals Beneficiation, Agri-processing, Business Process Outsourcing and Infrastructural Projects”.

In accordance with the agreement, the two organisations will work together to:

•        explore the development of an enterprise development fund in terms of which members of the BBC or entities within its network will contribute to an enterprise development fund which will be managed by the NEF;

•        BBC will facilitate the referral of transactions which meet the NEF’s funding criteria and which are commercially viable, on behalf of its members;

•        form strong partnerships with other industry players with a view to enabling the creation of skills development programmes and other support measures;

•        leverage on their relationships and structures in order to popularise their joint initiatives and create opportunities for BEE, socio economic development and enterprise development.

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