Zimele takes Sebenza Fund to the people

Anglo American’s enterprise development arm, Zimele, will launch the first leg of its countrywide roadshow in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape on 19 November 2014 and invites all entrepreneurs to attend the event. This leg of the roadshow will showcase Zimele’s Sebenza Fund, which provides both equity and loan finance at preferential interest rates of up to 6% p.a. to entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that are economically viable and can create new long-term sustainable jobs.

Zimele already has a small business hub in Mthatha that has seen the successful launch of several fledgling businesses in this area which is characterised by high unemployment. Established in 1989, Zimele provides funding and support to previously disadvantaged South Africans in order to create and develop commercially viable and sustainable SMEs.

The morning programme will be presented by the energetic Putco Mafani and will include presentations from our partners at both local and provincial government, as well as an address by Sasol Eastern Cape Development Corporation Treasurer and member of the OR Tambo Chamber of Business, Mava Mkukwana, who is also an entrepreneur in Mthatha.

Also, Zimele Hub Manager for Mthatha, Zola Soldati, will explain the Zimele offering and how the Sebenza Fund works and one of the Fund’s beneficiaries, Banele Mbuqe, will talk about her experiences as a newcomer to the world of business. Performances by local artists will add colour to the programme that includes an invitation to members of the audience to share their business ideas with the Zimele team.

“Long before it became a legislative requirement for private companies to support enterprise development, Anglo American recognised the significant role that companies can play in ensuring that we make the most positive impact on the country,” says Hlonela Lupuwana, Managing Director of Anglo American’s Zimele.

“For the past 25 years, through Zimele, we’ve made a significant difference in the development of emerging black business, witnessing first-hand the difference funding, training and mentoring entrepreneurs in emerging businesses can make.

“As a leading corporate citizen in South Africa today we want to set a good example by partnering with Government and ensuring that people at grassroots level are creating new jobs where it matters most. Our robust commitment to enterprise development is aligned with Government’s prioritisation of entrepreneurship and the advancement of enterprises and the various enterprise-related policies implemented by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). For job creation to be successful, all stakeholders must work together to find lasting solutions that chart a way forward for our country’s economic goals and the livelihood of its people. It is only through cooperation and partnerships that we can meet the objectives of the National Development Plan to tackle the socio-economic ills of South African society such as poverty, inequality and unemployment.”

Sebenza, which means “to work” in isiXhosa, is a fitting name for the Fund, which aims to provide new and sustainable employment throughout South Africa. It was launched in partnership with the Development Bank of Southern Africa’s(DBSA) jobs fund in 2013, and is modelled on the successes of Zimele’s other funds. The Fund channels a total of R500 million into underprivileged and poor communities, with Anglo American and the DBSA contributing R250 million each. It provides loans to businesses, start-up and growing entrepreneurs at a preferential annual interest rate of 6% p.a., with Zimele undertaking surety and ownership of assets until the loan is repaid. In line with the Zimele model, on-going mentorship is available to all beneficiary companies.

By October 2014, the Sebenza Fund had created a total of 2450 new jobs since its inception, effectively translating to five jobs created per day.

Author: Press Release

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