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Old Mutual’s Masisizane Fund established in 2007, celebrated its 12th Anniversary on 23 July 2019 by proudly showcasing the achievements of the small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) they are currently partnering with for success.

The Masisizane Fund is a non-profit funding entity established by Old Mutual in consultation with the National Treasury of South Africa following the closure of Old Mutual’s Unclaimed Share Schemes Trust. The Fund provides finance or business support to SMMEs in agribusiness, manufacturing and franchising. The Fund also co-funds designated beneficiaries, especially previously disadvantaged South Africans and women.

The spirit of the organisation is embodied in the name of the Fund – Masisizane, meaning ‘let us help each other.

“Since inception to December 2018 the Fund has partnered with 400 enterprises across three sectors (Agricultural, franchise and supply chain) producing close to 9 800 jobs” says Zizipho Nyanga, CEO of the Masisizane Fund.

The Masisizane Fund also works to help other South African corporates implement SMME development and economic and social development programmes.

Not all corporates are as experienced in SMME funding as Old Mutual. Because of regulation they are nonetheless compelled to help build SMMEs. As such, “beyond the work that we are already doing, our expertise, knowledge and resources allow us to help other South African corporates manage and distribute their own development funds, including post investment monitoring,’ says Nyanga.

The Masisizane Fund’s board is a deliberate mix of gender and skills from Old Mutual and two empowerment partners WIPHOLD and Brimstone, and other external stakeholders, SEFA, Black Umbrellas, Pick and Pay, Productivity SA and Nedbank. So deeply committed are these 10 individuals that they actively visit and engage on-site with entrepreneurs to observe the impact and guide the effectiveness of the partners and projects that the Fund invests in.

While SMMEs are the backbone of the country’s economy and access to finance is a major barrier of entry into entrepreneurship, “beyond financing basic skills are also critical,” adds Nyanga. As such the Fund also offers services, like helping SMMEs to scale up their businesses, improve financial reporting and improve technical skills.

“Our ability to provide practical project management expertise to other corporates, frees them to focus on their core business, confident that Masisizane’s experience and know-how will deliver their SMME development projects successfully,” says Nyanga.

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