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Beyond the tick box: How Edge Growth instils a real commitment to ESD in its partners

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Most transformation managers will already understand that convincing an enterprise’s Exco to become wholeheartedly invested in pursuing Enterprise and Supplier Development is easier said than done. Some may view ESD as a necessary sacrifice in the name of B-BBEE compliance and an attractive transformation scorecard. Others may be wary from unpleasant past experiences – channelling significant sums into ESD providers who fail to effect meaningful transformation and deliver nothing but lacklustre performance.

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In Edge Growth’s years of operation, we have observed time and again that ESD is at its most effective when the enterprise, the ESD supplier and the SME beneficiary are driven by not only business and compliance considerations, but the spirit of national transformation that ESD embodies as a tool for economic and social progress.

In formulating our ESD strategies, these three elements work together in a symbiotic relationship that goes far beyond “ticking the right boxes”, extolling a spirit of Ubuntu in every partnership and ensuring alignment of values and a dedication to transformation for everyone involved. And for our own staff, embodying the spirit of transformation has always been one of the best ways to help Excos understand that, far from being a grudge purchase, ESD is an opportunity to nurture not only their own businesses and their SME partners, but South African society as a whole.

Nabeela Vally, Edge Action Fund, echoes this sentiment.

“Working for Edge Growth means I become an enabler of a changing African entrepreneurial landscape every day, by backing the best entrepreneurs in SA. When an entrepreneur sheds a tear of happiness because we made their dream an even bigger reality… that holds more meaning for me than anything else in the world.”

And while our clients’ Excos are understandably concerned with putting the interests of the company first, Transformation Managers will find that this doesn’t necessarily mean that the values of national economic transformation cannot help them make their case when the time comes to justify the company’s ESD budgets. With an emphasis on showing business leaders first-hand what their ESD contributions are doing to enrich the lives of local communities, Edge Growth’s ethos becomes instilled in our clients as well.

“Working with Edge is an opportunity to explore, build and grow innovative ventures that enhance industries, improve lives and leave the world a better place,” says Rich Chapman, Cape Town regional head. “This view effectively highlights our aim to illustrate that getting the most out of your ESD strategy through best practices, while also making a tangible impact, is not only possible but in the best interests of every organization and the people that work for it.”

Driving this objective to highlight the human impact of ESD is our 5 by 500 by 5 model – our way of putting our money where our mouth is by creating five jobs, in five hundred companies, every year for five years. This is how we aim to “be the change making the world a better place one SME at a time”, as post investment analyst Sharon Ogwang so eloquently puts it.

Ultimately, this scalable model is putting the foundation in place to do something at a grand scale. Our greatest hope is that the result of this will be a change in the way people approach ESD – and a relief to transformation managers everywhere.

To find out how Edge Growth can help you get your organisation’s employees to back ESD, click the button below for an executive-level consultation with us.


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