Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa sees the youth as the key to driving economic recovery in South Africa. Since 2016, CCBSA has spent more than R105-million on its Bizniz in a Box (BiB) initiatives and most recently, Study Buddy Fund (SBF).
BiB is primarily aimed at transforming aspirant entrepreneurs into fully-fledged business owners who can create a livelihood for themselves and others; it was launched in 2016. To date, CCBSA has financially supported and provided training to over 700 entrepreneurs across the country.
The Study Buddy Fund was launched in 2021 and has enabled 55 young people from 14 host communities wherein its business operations lie to access tertiary education. The fund pays for full tuition, accommodation fees and a monthly stipend. This is over and above the bursaries the company pays for employees’ children and young people in the organisation.
The programmes are some of the company’s investments to support the government’s efforts in tackling the country’s youth unemployment challenge.
“Our youth are resilient and innovative and have shown that they can start their own businesses to create a livelihood for themselves. But disillusionment remains high, and now more than ever we need a focused approach to tackle some of the challenges we face as a country. There is a need for all stakeholders to collaborate and co-facilitate solutions that will bring hope to our young people, be it providing access to education or helping them build businesses,” says Nozicelo Ngcobo, Public Affairs, Communication and Sustainability Director.
The company believes when companies grow their businesses the right way, not just the easy way, it will help create inclusive growth opportunities for communities and all their stakeholders, for a better-shared future.
Glimmers of hope are starting to emerge from South Africa’s economic gloom, none more so than the news on 31 May that the country’s unemployment rate for the first quarter of 2022 had receded from its record high of Q4 in 2021.
According to statistics from the Quarterly Labor Force Survey (QLFS), unemployment in Quarter 1 2022 declined to 34.5% from the previous quarter’s 35.3%.
The fact that the South African economy gained an estimated 370 000 jobs over the period under review potentially indicates that the worst economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic are receding.
“We need to harness young people’s drive, eagerness, and ability to think out of the box and use technology to succeed. We need to tap into their natural energy and ability to try new things by showing them what is possible. But we must also ensure they are part of the solution and can help birth ideas that they can own,” Ngcobo notes.
“We believe in using our industry leadership to be part of the solution to achieve positive change in the country and build a legacy that we can be proud of. Ultimately, the aim is to contribute towards revitalising our township and rural economies and supporting the country’s development agenda by enabling access to education, to help young people acquire the requisite qualifications for them to enter the world of work, and, for those who are entrepreneurial, really commit to helping them with start-up capital and sustained support,” Ngcobo says, adding that young people’s representation in business and the potential it has for the country cannot be overemphasised.
Ngcobo concludes: “It is clear that as the number of unemployed drops, the higher the education level and the entrepreneurial spirit of a people, so we have to continue to invest in these two important areas.”
Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) is a proudly South African company which began operating as a legal entity in July 2016, after the merger of six non-alcoholic ready-to-drink bottling operations. We are a level 1 B-BBEE empowered company. We employ over 7 000 people at 13 manufacturing facilities across the country. As a subsidiary of Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA) and a bottler for The Coca-Cola Company, our vision is to refresh Africa every day and make our continent a better place for all. We manufacture and distribute Coca-Cola beverages that make life’s everyday moments more enjoyable, while doing business the right way. The result is shared opportunity for our customers, our employees, our communities, and our shareholders. We conduct our business ethically, transparently, and conscientiously. We espouse an inclusive business culture to reflect our African identity. We accelerate sustainable, profitable revenue growth across all categories and offer an innovative portfolio of products that respond to customer needs and consumer preferences. Profitability is important, but not at any cost. People matter. Our planet matters. We do business the right way by following our values and partnering for solutions that benefit us all.