Supporting small and medium enterprises (SMEs), entrepreneurs and youth
Our Enterprise and Supplier Development strategy aims to reduce poverty and create employment by undertaking and supporting investment in initiatives that create jobs and include more people in the formal economy as well as Discovery’s value chain.
Through the extension of financial and business development support to new and established black entrepreneurs, we aim to facilitate the building of commercially viable businesses that are innovative in addressing the needs of the health and insurance sectors, and provide increased access to services in lower income markets.
A key part of our ED strategy is partnership with various entrepreneurial incubators.
Discovery’s partnership with Raizcorp, starting in 2014 with a grant of R1.5 million, was extended in 2015 through the provision of a further R1.5 million. Raizcorp developed the Horizon programme, on behalf of Discovery, to target the development of entrepreneurial concerns that have the ability to address social issues such as unemployment, youth development, education and healthcare. Raizcorp is currently working with five social entrepreneurs.
A partnership with Enterpriseroom was established to support up to 17 Funeral Group Independent Contractors. An incubator was created, to assist these contractors with business development support. A grant of R2 million was provided to facilitate the incubator. This is another example of how our Programme aims to stimulate job creation.
In addition to supporting incubators, business development support is provided to our existing and potential ED beneficiaries in the form of assistance and mentorship to overcome business-related challenges.
Awethu, an incubator of which Discovery was a founding funder, has set up its own micro finance fund, through which it lends money to emerging micro enterprises which would not otherwise be able to secure finance. Over the last two years, Discovery has provided grants of to Awethu to support micro enterprises, and continues to play a role in providing mentorship and support to its founders.
In addition to programmes for smaller, emerging enterprises managed by enterprise development incubators, Discovery has supported a number of enterprises in the healthcare sector. This support has primarily been through loans, provided to help these businesses overcome the challenges faced in accessing finance. Examples include:
- Saldosat Investments – a R20 million loan to enable owner to develop a new medical facility in Ekurhuleni.
- The St Stephen Oncology Centre in Paarl. Discovery has provided a R3 million loan for working capital on preferential repayment terms, to expand the St Stephen Oncology Centre in Paarl. This facility has been operating since October 2014.
Business development support is also provided to organisations within our CSI programme that need to create income-generating activities to sustain themselves beyond the term of their funding from Discovery and other donors.