There is a particularly frustrating point of view about Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment that some view as doing good or being ‘charitable’. Seeing B-BBEE as a handout is deeply unfair and this perspective has no place in a community that is striving to be better, to make a better life for all.
Make no mistake – at Lanham-Love Consulting, we know that B-BBEE is good business. By investing in your people, you are investing in your business, and in the economy and country as a whole. But, like anything that’s worth doing, B-BBEE is worth doing well. If B-BBEE is genuinely going to contribute to the future of South Africa, it needs to be done in a way that changes the outcomes of those it seeks to empower. When implemented correctly, B-BBEE supports job creation, global competitiveness, and economic growth. It also has the potential to reduce the burden on entrepreneurs and help to create a more skilled workforce.
But empowering our population is not just about the financial and economic benefits, though those can be immense. Though generally less focused on, the dignity that empowerment offers is an overarching benefit that cannot be ignored. An empowered population is one that is sustainable and sees the value of maintaining a sustainable community by uplifting and empowering those around them. I therefore think of B-BBEE as basic rational self-interest, with a knock-on effect far wider than just the person, or even the company, that invests in B-BBEE.
Though South Africa has a large section of our population that was previously disadvantaged, we now have a generation of employees and graduates that have never lived in a country that politically excluded them. We are, however, still dealing with the ongoing issue of economic exclusion – these problems are not fixed in a day. If we are going to see systemic change in South Africa that will result in a cohesive, sustainable community in which everyone is equipped to contribute economically, we have to stop erroneously seeing B-BBEE as a handout, and start focusing on its capacity to be a hand up – not just for those empowered by B-BBEE policies, but in the way that it empowers businesses and the economy as a whole.
If you, too, see the value of correctly implemented B-BBEE for your business, and recognise that it is intended as a hand up, not just a handout, speak to Lanham-Love Consulting today. We specialise in finding strategic B-BBEE solutions that result in additional benefits and increased compliance across multiple elements of the scorecard.