Over the 28 years that the Mail & Guardian has hosted the Investing the Future Awards, they have adapted to suit the times, latest trends and focus of our partners. Many similar initiatives have been launched, but the M&G Investing in the Future Awards remain the most prestigious and dynamic.
In 2016 our focus was on business as a force for good. As a result of tough economic conditions Corporate Social Investment (CSI) has seen the rise of this concept, which recognises that business has so much more to give than just money.
The business sector takes responsibility not just for providing some form of capital in support of a worthy cause, but takes the lead in the development and, importantly, the implementation of interventions.
Business as a force for good emphasises the need to apply sound business principles in making any form of donation. It also supports the notion that investment has to create capacity to be sustainable, and understands that a well-planned and directed investment is an investment in future social capital.
The approach is evident in job-creation programmes, involvement in enterprise, SMME and skills development, and of course corporate support for education-related development.
Each year the M&G Investing in the Future Awards publicise the often unsung contributions by business to the future of South Africa and its citizens. The awards are designed to heighten public, government and business awareness about meaningful social investment.
Every year, we receive hundreds of entries from projects around the country that are judged by an independent, respected panel of judges. The winners, finalists and other outstanding, innovative projects worthy of special mention are featured here, and are fêted at an annual gala banquet hosted by the Mail & Guardian and attended by the who’s who of the CSI world.
For the past 10 years Investing in the Future has partnered with the Southern Africa Trust on the The Drivers of Change awards, which honour individuals, governments, businesses and organisations from across Southern Africa that make a real impact on poverty in the region.
This partnership will see the winners and finalists of the Business Award and Civil Society Award honoured at a joint ceremony in February 2017. They will be part of the Footprint Project at the Drivers of Change summit, which aims to review social entrepreneurship in making impact for societal change.
Congratulations to all the winners, finalists and entrants of the 2016 M&G Investing in the Future Awards. You provide true inspiration for South Africa’s future!
Fiona Macleod is the editor of the Mail and Guardian Investing the Future Awards