There are numerous pathways in which members and organisations can drive social impact in the country. These include traditional philanthropic giving, volunteering time along with deploying catalytic capital, or innovative finance tools to effect change.
The business of business is not just business but to advance social progress. Business can ensure the attainment of sustainable economic development. In 1987, the United Nations Brundtland Commission defined sustainability as ‘meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’. The aim of sustainable development is to build a foundation for an equitable and transformed society.
Business cannot operate optimally where inequalities and major obstacles remain. It cannot thrive where countless cases are reported of extreme poverty, environmental degradation, and heinous human rights violations persist. Resultantly, contributing to socio-economic development is more than just a B-BBEE Code requirement but rather a business imperative. Contributions can take many forms such as giving money, time, or influencing where money is directed and spent. Members and affiliated organisations can provide philanthropic giving to the over 228 000 locally registered non-profit organisations per the Department of Social Development register. In doing so, they qualify for the incentive SARS provides for the public to financially support public benefit organisations (PBOs) through tax exemptions per section 18A of the Income Tax Act.
NGOs play a critical role in supporting service delivery, empowering and training communities, driving advocacy, building awareness and facilitating access to basic services. However, the sector remains vulnerable due to funding constraints. Innovative finance provides great social investment strategies to ensure scalability and sustainability of impact.
Innovative finance is a dynamic approach to funding enterprises and interventions that optimise positive social, environmental and financial impact. Innovative finance uses financial and philanthropic tools to support growth and provide viable livelihoods to people. These include convertible or recoverable grants, forgivable loans, or outcomes-based funding mechanisms such as social impact bonds. The Bonds4Jobs (the countries first social impact bond) demonstrated the power of collaboration and the value of creative structuring in addressing the countries high youth unemployment rate through a pay for performance mechanism.
The above illustrates the multiple opportunities for individuals to get involved, along with the novel thinking needed to create significant community change in one of the most unequal places in the world.
We are reminded of the powerful words of the late President Nelson Mandela addressing a crowd 16 years ago at Trafalgar Square in London at the launch of the ‘Make Poverty History’ campaign: ‘Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.’
R1 billion FUND FOR FARMERS
In March this year, the IDC in partnership with the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, launched a R1 billion blended finance Agri-Industrial Fund to boost black farmers. The programme provides farmers with a mixture of government grants and commercial funding intended to address funding constraints, accelerate land redistribution and contribute to economic growth and job creation.