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Education Moves to Centre Stage in February

Developments across the SVAI network in Africa

Johannesburg, 23 February 2021 – At the Shared Value Africa Initiative (SVAI), we started the year at warp speed, as we continue to build, nurture and grow Africa’s most impactful Shared Value business network.

First things first! A warm welcome to our newest members – Sappi, a South African pulp and paper company with global operations, and Fundis, an online platform that connects artisans with clients and one of Kenya’s top 100 start-ups in 2020.

Our next noteworthy accomplishment is our first board transformation report, which will be released in early March. The study, which focuses on gender equality and transformation within JSE-listed companies in 2020, argues that a mere 25-30% representation of women in the boardroom – to meet regulatory requirements – is neither acceptable nor is it sufficient to bring about business change and growth. It also spotlights male dominance across exco levels within the banking, insurance, life insurance and non-life insurance sectors.

The SVAI is also currently working with academics from the University of Johannesburg to educate and advance a better understanding of the direct impact of gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) on business.

In fact, we are on an educational high this month with the first Shared Value Masterclass, as well as the Shared Value Africa Academy (SVAA) pilot, getting underway this week. The Academy, which is due to be launched in March, will help entrepreneurs align to the principles of Shared Value and create sustainable business that are people, planet and profit focused. The first cohort gets underway this week with the University of Cape Town conducting a detailed post-training evaluation. The training will be delivered by SVAI’s advisory arm, Shift Impact Africa.

We are currently in the process of finalising our 2021 partnership with Strathmore Business School (SBS) to deliver a five-day online Shared Value Executive Programme from 23-27 August and a three-day in-person course from 15-17 November. The course is designed to introduce the business management concept of creating Shared Value to African businesses, government bodies, non-profit organisations and other institutions on the continent.

Apart from cementing relationships and partnerships formed in 2020, we have also been hard at work cultivating new ones not only in Africa but also across the Atlantic Ocean and into Europe.

During the first two months of 2021, we formed partnerships with the likes of Belgium-based OVO in Rwanda and the African Venture Philanthropy Alliance in South Africa, both of which support entrepreneurs on their journey towards becoming more sustainable. Both organisations also participated in the first of our quarterly African Entrepreneurship Forums, which took place earlier this month. The forums aim to bring together entrepreneurs from across the continent to speak up, share, learn and contribute to solutions on how we, as a collective, can accelerate change.

While on the subject of global connections, 2021 is also the year of celebrating a decade of creating Shared Value and we are hard at work planning a multi-faceted and global Summit in the November-December timeframe, to mark this auspicious occasion.

Unlike last year when it was a virtual-only engagement, the 2021 Africa Shared Value Leadership Summit will take a hybrid format, comprising both an in-person event hosted in Johannesburg during November with a live link-in with the global SVI Summit taking place in the US. In addition, a number of events will take place in the lead up to this year’s Summit, including the Shared Value CEO Connect Roundtable in June and country-specific events hosted in Hong Kong and Australia.

More short-term and specifically during International Women’s week, we will be hosting the first Women in Leadership Roundtable on 11 March to address and engage on the issue of equality in the workplace.

In closing, if you are an African business starting out on your Shared Value journey and need to access support, or operational or strategic guidance, the SVAI’s advisory services can be accessed through Shift Impact Africa. Click here to download more information.