South Africa’s township economy is estimated to contribute at least R100 billion to the country’s gross domestic product. As part of Nedbank’s commitment to supporting the continued growth of this vital South African economic sector, the bank has partnered with the Township Entrepreneurship Alliance (TEA) to help catalyse the development of entrepreneurship in South African townships.
According to Lizzy Mogale, Managing Executive: Insights and Advisory, Retail and Business Banking at Nedbank, the partnership is aimed at leveraging TEA’s extensive experience in helping entrepreneurs to succeed and grow, by offering training workshops to township business owners across South Africa.
“Townships are incubators of entrepreneurship and innovation, ” Mogale says, “and the support and training that we will offer through this partnership with TEA will help these all-important homegrown entrepreneurs to expand and build more sustainable businesses.”
The workshops are facilitated by experienced and successful township business owners who understand the challenges associated with establishing and growing a township business, and the learning is tailored to the level of experience and understanding of each participant. The interactive format of the workshops allows participants to acquire and practice essential business skills, while attendees also have the opportunity to benefit from ongoing business mentorship, and affords them access to financial tools, networking and marketing opportunities.
“Many township entrepreneurs do not have the skills, networks and financial tools that entrepreneurs in the formal economy typically have,” Mogale explains, “but this partnership between Nedbank and TEA will help to shift this reality and equip these township businesses for sustainable success.”
The partnership builds on Nedbank’s very successful Together, Beke le Beke initiative, which leverages the bank’s various business development programmes and banking solutions to support the growth of micro- and small businesses in the informal sector. First launched in response to the challenges facing SMMEs due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the 2021 KZN unrest, Together, Beke le Beke had such a positive impact on many small businesses and entrepreneurial ventures across the country that Nedbank decided to continue and expand the programme.
Nedbank’s support of the township economy isn’t limited to business training and transactional offerings. The bank is also delivering full-service banking to township communities and entrepreneurs through the rollout of its Mega Branches across the country.
The first Mega Branch was launched in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, in August 2021, and based on the overwhelmingly positive response Nedbank has now extended its Mega Branch network to communities in Evaton, Chris Hani crossing, Jabulani Mall, and Wynberg. These new branches offer a reimagined, full-service banking experience that combines digital platforms and in-person assistance to enable clients to get their banking done quickly and efficiently. Where Nedbank clients, including business owners can now book to use Meeting Zones inside the branch at no charge to host client meetings or small strategy workshops.
The Mega Branches also offer a range of financial learning experiences and online short courses to help people, entrepreneurs and families better understand their finances and discover ways to make their money work harder for them.
“Initiatives like the Nedbank Mega Branches and the partnership with TEA are helping to steadily enhance the effectiveness of our Together, Beke le Beke programme in ensuring the resilience and sustainability of entrepreneurs across South Africa’s informal economy,” Mogale says, “which is an important step towards addressing the socio-economic difficulties still experienced by many people in township communities, as well as an effective way of reversing the country’s debilitating unemployment situation by helping people to become financially self-sufficient.”