NEW FOUNDATION TO ADDRESS ECONOMIC INEQUALITY

Mobile technology giant, Blue Label Telecoms has established a foundation called Trust Blue Foundation. The foundation draws on the company’s technology and innovation to fast-track socioeconomic transformation and drive meaningful participation of blacks, women, youth and people with disabilities in South Africa’s economy. Furthermore, it aims to reduce unemployment and bridge the inequality gap by enabling informal, micro and small enterprises to grow.

“We started to understand that our business depends on empowerment and bridging the inequality gap. We had a conversation about how we can intentionally approach this. And how we can create a vehicle that will not only amplify but also scale it,” Bianca Lima-Boekhoud, Group Head of transformation shares with TransformSA.

Lima-Boekhoud says discussions  internally started moving from a generic ad hoc approach to finding ways to address their corporate social responsibilities. “To understand that these are the communities that we will focus on as a brand. The same communities that we are targeting,” she adds.

Through funding and access to technology, Trust Blu will help non-profit organisations and social enterprises to amplify their impact. “We are focusing on the entire country. But first our project will be piloted in Gauteng and once our model is fine tuned then it will be rolled out nationally,” Lima-Boekhoud reveals.

Trust Blu Foundation will partner with social entrepreneurs and other NPOs to drive large-scale socioeconomic development across South Africa. “We are not restricted as to who we partner with. We look at authenticity and integrity. We partner with well-established nonprofit organisations. We are looking for commitment, we are looking for passion and we are looking for vision. And we are going to bring those pieces together, ” says Lima-Boekhoud.

That’s not all. Blue Label Foundation will be launching a project that will provide food and support to underprivileged early childhood development centres within various communities. “Early child support centres get very limited support from the government.But somehow they managed to keep their little centres afloat,” says Lima-Boekhoud.

Blue Label Telecoms, is not only renowned as the entrepreneurial distributor of airtime, electricity tokens and other online services, but as an organisation that supports entrepreneurship. Lima-Boekhoud says this blends well with their transformation goals.

“That’s where the BBB-EE codes are inspiring. I think every corporation should look at their model and ask: are the elements blended together to achieve the overall transformation goals for the organisation and the economy? If we start at the bottom of the scorecard all our programmes within the CSI space which include youth development and empowering our youth, we hope this will capture our enterprise development which is  feeding into our supply chain. We see skill development as supporting the whole value chain.

We hope that through that vision we are either creating a new market of entrepreneurs that will be our brand ambassadors in the market or South Africa’s youth employers. Or they will come and be part of our Blue Label family and transform our management control elements,” says Lima-Boekhoud.

In 2016, Blue Label Telecoms and Blue Pencil Management Architects jointly launched a business accelerator programme that provided high potential South African businesses with access to the funding, market opportunities, channels and skills needed to take their commercial success to the next level. The programme provided channel development, investment and business acceleration services for small and medium-sized businesses that have strong growth prospects. The new business acceleration programme focuses on start-ups that are maturing from their incubation phase and that are ready to develop into more mature businesses.

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