Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) together with United States Agency for International Development (USAID) joined forces in 2015 to tackle some of South Africa’s most pressing issues. The two organisations established the Beyond Advocacy Fund (BAF); with the aim of supporting the efforts of business to make a more coherent and systemic contribution to national development objectives as envisaged in the National Development Plan. BAF represents the South African private sector’s aspiration to move “beyond advocacy” and toward deeper public-private dialogue and cooperation to jointly address strategic socio-economic challenges facing the country.
BAF aims to catalyze good ideas and to unlock private capital and public resources to address national development priorities, and to promote greater dialogue, consensus and cooperation between business, government and other social partners on strategic initiatives. In particular BAF seeks to: (1) improve the allocation and effectiveness of government of South Africa (GoSA) and private sector resources, including corporate social investment (CSI); and (2) to have a direct impact in the following GoSA priority areas:
- improving education and training with a focus on Early Childhood Development and Foundation Phase schooling
- addressing youth unemployment through for example matching of work seekers with job opportunities, expansion of learnerships, and alignment of TVET college curriculum development with industry demand.
- job creation with a focus on small and medium enterprises development, including access to finance and market opportunities.
Enhancing the delivery and maintenance of water and sanitation infrastructure, through for example leveraging private sector investment in the delivery of infrastructure, and/or supporting initiatives that aim to improve infrastructure delivery through partnerships with the private sector
After six years of funding various projects, the BAF programme has been extended for another two years, from May 2021 to March 2023. In the current cycle, four new projects have been added. National Business Initiative’s TAMDEV – Nelson Mandela Bay Drought Mitigation programme; Afrika Tikkun Services’ Career Development and Placement in IT programme; 22 on Sloane’s Capacity Building Programme; and EnterpriseRoom’s Enterprise fund Township SMME Development Programme.
These projects focus on job creation, capacitating SMME’s, addressing youth unemployment and enhancing delivery and maintenance of water and sanitation infrastructure.
EnterpriseRoom’s Enterprisefund Township SMME Development Programme
EnterpriseRoom is a transformation and business growth consultancy. It is dedicated to achieving socioeconomic transformation by starting, sustaining, growing and developing small and medium businesses.
Through BAF, EnterpriseRoom’s Township SMME Development programme aims to source finance from different partners to provide a blended financing product to SMMEs that is affordable and focuses on driving growth and sustainability. EnterpriseRoom is currently sourcing SMMEs from underserved and underdeveloped regions.
Afrika Tikkun Services’ Career Development and Placement in IT Programme
Afrika Tikkun Services creates sustainable economic empowerment through skills training, job placement and entrepreneurship. It is a Level 2 Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) advisory, recruitment, training and placement company, supporting the full integration of youth employability and placement solutions in organisations.
With the assistance of BAF, Afrika Tikkun Services is providing, to a total of 364 students, digital skills training in desktop technology, data analyses, software development, the Internet of things, cybersecurity and Azure artificial intelligence.
A total of 343 students have completed their training and 285 of the students have been placed in various jobs.
National Business Initiative’s TAMDEV – Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (NMBM) Drought Mitigation Programme
TAMDEV is conceptualised as giving institutional form to a collaboration between government and business. This collaboration aims to build on tested, workable practices and the deployment of appropriate retired expertise and technical skills from both the private and public sectors to strengthen vulnerable public institutions and address infrastructure provisioning and service delivery constraints.
The project funded by BAF allows TAMDEV to enhance the delivery and maintenance of water and sanitation infrastructure in the NMBM through offering technical support and capacity building as well as creating responsible citizens through its water conservation and stewardship programmes. With the support and funding of BAF, TAMDEV has been able to successfully assist in identifying water leaks at numerous schools and clinics. To date a total of 42 schools have been adopted by various corporations through collaboration with the Local Business Chambers, while 24 Community Work Programme individuals have been identified and will be undergoing training and deployment within schools to assist with leak repairs. BAF has afforded TAMDEV four mentors who have been deployed in the metro to assist with communication, operation and maintenance and mitigation strategies.
22 On Sloane’s Capacity Building Programme
22 ON SLOANE is the largest start-up campus in Africa, which offers disruptive start-ups and innovative SMEs a complete turnkey solution to scale, from the initial idea all the way to commercialization, funding opportunities and access to markets. The entrepreneurship initiative offers three programmes namely the residency, incubation, and accelerator; fundamentally providing subsidized ofﬁce facilities, equips the entrepreneurs with business development knowledge and skills, as well as expanding market access and networks.
Additionally, 22 On Sloane established the Capacity Building Programme (in partnership with the public and private sector) which is a scale-up of the abovementioned entrepreneurship development programme. It aims to support start-up businesses and help integrate them into the mainstream economy by creating opportunities for them to access markets as well as funding. 22 On Sloane aims to assist approximately 100 entrepreneurs through the Capacity Building Programme.
BAF also assists 22 On Sloane in scaling its key offerings across 10 business hubs that have been identified in various townships across Gauteng.