Solvay supports South Africa’s Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment initiative

To empower a diverse and inclusive workplace in South Africa, Solvay is supporting the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) program fostering diversity, equity and inclusion, and sustainable business growth, beneficial to our employees, customers, partners and the community at large. 

(Image top: Solvay - Mark Balloy, Kevin Naidoo & Solomon Lamola with consultants from Afrika Tikkun [NGO])

B-BBEE (Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment) is a government enacted program aimed at redressing the wrongs of Apartheid and promoting previously disadvantaged, black-owned businesses.  Businesses gain points as an award which they can claim on a B-BBEE certificate which helps them gain government contracts and suppliers. 
“It’s extremely beneficial for all companies to have a B-BBEE scorecard, as this opens doors and opportunities for business,” explains Kevin Naidoo, Solvay’s Head of the Multi-Business Unit (MBU) commercial network office in South-Africa, and covering the Sub-Saharan African region. “For all South Africans, thanks to the B-BBEE program, there is more value added to goods and services, people skills are developed so people are more employable and easier entry into the global market is facilitated, as well as increased foreign investment.”

Accelerating youth employment in South Africa

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Solvay is supporting a Youth employment program in South Africa called the YES! Program, critical to retain local accreditation to run a business in South Africa, and aimed at empowering disadvantaged youth with the tools and resources to develop and grow. 

“The Government has introduced the YES! Program for Foreign Multinationals where Solvay can make a difference and gain accreditation better serving our stakeholders. The YES program also targets the SED (Socio-Economic Development) objectives of the B-BBEE Charter. Thank you Solvay!” says Kevin .
Afrika Tikkun is the NGO that is helping Solvay to roll out this initiative. “Solvay is providing the funding for each of the 24 youths. This funding is used to pay them, plus arrange a simple smartphone for them as they use this phone for their job as delivery agents (Uber Eats, Order In, Mr Delivery). Afrika Tikkun arranges scooters for them, plus arranges for them to be trained and licensed. The scooters become their own after this 12 months when they move out of the first stage of the program to become entrepreneurs or be absorbed into greater economic activity within South Africa. We are there to essentially give them a running start,” says Kevin.

“Furthermore, one of the many benefits for Solvay,” says Thierry Grange, Global Commercial Network Development Director, Multi-Business Unit Solvay, “is that in 2020 Solvay won a major contract and a tender worth €2.5 million per year with a customer because we were B-BBEE accredited. Our customer really valued the accreditation.”

“We envisage this and other programs to come as integral and vital for Solvay to participate in to ensure we attain our B-BBEE Accreditation and to promote the values of Solvay. Later this year, we will embark on socio-economic development programs to assist rural communities in being self-sufficient. We dare to care!” further explains Kevin.

Slide Meet Vhukudo Malume

B-BBEE (Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment)

It encourages companies and organizations to support black businesses and integrate Black people in the workplace. It aims at redressing the devastating effects on Black South African children who suffer the consequences facing poverty, violence, and racism perpetuated through the racial divide between the rich and the poor. The B-BBEE is a growth strategy that targets inequality with the objective of empowering Black people to own businesses, facilitate economic activities, and promote racial equality in the workplace.