Stanbic Bank launches 'Innovation Hub'

By Staff reporter | 27 Feb 2020 at 12:14hrs
Stanbic launch
A local financial institution, Stanbic Bank which is a member of the Standard Bank Group has launched an ‘Innovation Hub' to support young Zimbabwean entrepreneurs taking their businesses from conception to financing and beyond.

The launch also coincided with the 2020 Stanbic Business Breakfast Speaker & Panel Concept with a brief under the ‘Theme Profit, Purpose, Social Impact & Entrepreneurship'.

The Purpose of the business breakfast & panel discussion attended by investors, clients, entreprenuers, regulators, employees and the media was to unpack the impact of social entrepreneurs in Africa and introduce the Stanbic Innovation Hub.

Tieke Barnard, CEO & Founder of the Shared Value Africa Initiative, Simbabrashe Mhuriro , MD Oxygen Africa; Non Executive Director, Stanbic & SVA Africa Council of 8 Member, Christelle Kwizera, MD & Founder Water Access Rwanda, and Alicia, who represented Hopolong Phororo ILO Country Office for Zimbabwe & Namibia made a 15 min presentation each which was later followed by Panel Discussion.

Stanbic Bank Zimbabwe, Head of Marketing & Corporate Affairs, Palmer Mugavha, chaired a panel discussion as well as a question and answer session with the three presenters.

2020 Stanbic Business Breakfast Speaker & Panel Concept with a brief under the ‘Theme Profit, Purpose, Social Impact & Entrepreneurship'[/caption]

The business breakfast unpacked the leadership skills and critical and design thinking of local and African young entrepreneurs. The various speakers shared their business journeys and delved into what inspired them to start or get involved in businesses that are focussed on ‘profit with purpose'.

Globally the role of business in society is being questioned. Once seen as generators of jobs and wealth, companies are increasingly seen as harming people and the environment through a narrow focus on profits. Clients, regulators, employees and investors are asking businesses to contribute to solving the social and environmental challenges worldwide. On the African continent, the same applies. What should business leaders do? Corporate social responsibility initiatives are no longer seen as enough.

Tieke Barnard, CEO & Founder of the Shared Value Africa Initiative said the Shared value strategy is a management strategy in which companies find business opportunities in social problems.

The 2020 Stanbic Breakfast & Panel Brief Shared Value Africa Initiative whose theme was ‘Profit, Social Impact & Entreprenuership' demonstrated how to re-think combining profit and social impact.

Participants, who included Simbabrashe Mhuriro , MD Oxygen Africa, Christelle Kwizera, MD & Founder Water Access Rwanda and Hopolong Phororo ILO Country Office for Zimbabwe & Namibia through their presentations shared lessons and examples of how the powerful and fast growing Shared Value Approach could help companies mitigate risk and improve companies' value to society, as it has for their companies and others across the African continent and beyond.

The current trend toward purpose-led business reveals that the connection between societal progress and productivity in the value chain is far greater than traditionally believed says Tieke Barnard, CEO & Founder of the Shared Value Africa Initiative.

The Shared Value business concept was first coined by Harvard economists Prof Michael Porter and Mark Kramer in their pioneering 2011 Harvard Business Review article.

The Shared Value approach reconnects business success with social progress, positioning that it is not only possible but indeed preferable from a business perspective to focus on creating both economic value for its shareholders and for society – summed up succinctly as profit with purpose.

African entrepreneurship is central to Africa's future prosperity. The biggest business opportunities in the coming decade will be created by Africans who start businesses, generate jobs and wealth, and capture growth opportunities.

Participants agreed that Africa is increasingly taking its place on the global stage as a continent of growth and opportunity. A whole new generation of social entrepreneurs is using innovative viable business models to meet social needs in a sustainable, profit-generating way.

Entrepreneurship makes it possible for African enterprises to disrupt ‘business as usual' and create profit-driven social impact – also known as Shared Value.

Auxillia Kambasha, Head of Ennterprise Banking, Stanbic Bank said understanding this, in 2019 Stanbic opened their Innovation Hub to support young Zimbabwean entrepreneurs taking their businesses from conception to financing and beyond.

The Innovation Hub programmes are based on five pillars:

1.Ideation – to promote the cultivation of intrapreneurial and entrepreneurial mindsets by assisting start-up with the guidance and relevant support to facilitate starting a business

2.Incubation – to help de-risk seed and early stage business to reduce failure rate by empowering entrepreneurs with business knowledge in areas that will have impact on the success of business, such as business ethics, governance/legal issues, marketing, HR, and intellectual property, as well as assistance in sourcing funding

3.Acceleration – to identify potential businesses for scalability and help unlock the challenges to growth through various interventions that include capacity building, access to markets and access to funding

4.Ecosystem – to identify and support high potential SMEs with supply chain integration opportunities

5.Financial Inclusion – to promote inclusive growth with focus on gender, youth and the informal sector.

There is growing evidence that social entrepreneurs using a Shared Value strategy can scale up more rapidly than either purely social programmes or 100% profit-focused companies.

Examining social entrepreneurship in the context of a larger transformation of capitalism, Prof Porter has suggested that social entrepreneurship is an important transitional vehicle toward the creation of Shared Value, "a capitalist system in which meeting social needs is not just a peripheral activity but a core aspect of every business".

This event is a part of a series of dialogues co-hosted by the Shared Value Africa Initiative, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and Stanbic to facilitate the creation of a business network to create a more sustainable Zimbabwe.

The Panel Discussion looked at; The growing threats of climate change and unresolved societal issues demonstrate that ‘business as usual' is no longer enough. How important are young entrepreneurs in driving the transformation to a more equal society? What is their role in creating change throughout the business ecosystem?

What does social entrepreneurship entail? Can an entrepreneur looking to address a social issue make a profit or should their focus be on impact only?

A lot of discussion centred around the importance of purpose-led organisations, and big businesses around the world are beginning to make the shift. What is your view on business purpose and purpose-led organisations – do you believe it is the way forward, or is it still about profit only?

How easy it is to make a business case for taking a social issue and building a business opportunity around it – in other words, Shared Value?

How important is it for every stakeholder, shareholder and investor to be aware of an organisation's purpose? How can this purpose truly be inculcated into the company culture and operations as more than just a slogan or ‘value statement'?

Can investment in social impact contribute to de-risking a company's asset portfolio and supply chain?

Do investors and shareholders support businesses creating social impact? How can business convince and/or manage wary stakeholders?

It is advisable for every entrepreneur to understand the social and environmental impact of the day-to-day operations of their business. How can the Shared Value business model change the way entrepreneurs view their role as leaders?

The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were specifically designed to include more than governmental efforts to create a better world, including business as a key part of their achievement. Are we doing enough as entrepreneurs to align to the SDGs? Can the SDGs enable entrepreneurs to magnify impact by functioning as a framework of shared targets and opening new opportunities for collaboration?



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