The fund will be made available to BBC members and other SMMEs to the value of R250 million per annum over the period of five years, targeted at supporting township and rural black business ventures, entrepreneurship, and starts-up companies.
The fund will focus mainly on the following sectors: information technology and digitalisation, manufacturing, agriculture and agri-processing, retail, infrastructure, and tourism.
The main objective of the partnership between BBC and Ubank will be to develop township and rural market solutions and black, companies, support the development of black industrialists, enable economic transformation, and be a catalyst for change and inclusive growth.
The fund will be managed through a joint Ubank/ BBC steering committee that will ensure that the fund achieves its intended purpose, which is to support township and rural economies in line with the mandate of the Government’s Township and Rural Entrepreneurship Programme (TREP) and Fund.
Tilson Manyoni, head of Policy at BBC, stated, “This partnership is a major milestone for BBC as it repositions BBC as a policy advocacy organisation, and an implementing partner. It will ensure that our country is transformed, develop the township and rural economy as well as build a new cohorts of black industrialists, and black businesses. We are now bringing policy advocacy to implementation.”
Ubank CEO, Luthando Vutula, fully agrees with Manyoni.
“This is indeed a major milestone, and one that resonates well with the bank. As the worker’s bank of choice, driven by our commitment to serve and empower our communities, I believe this partnership could not have come at a better time. The R1 billion Township and Rural Economy Fund will offer immense opportunities to small businesses, especially black businesses, which contribute positively towards townships. It will furthermore enable the township businesses to become active participants in our overall economy, and have some resources to give them the prospect of success,” Vutula said.
The partnership puts BBC and Ubank at the centre of the country’s economic re-industrialiSation and also as a strategic partner for township and rural economy revitalisation.
This is in line with government’s mandate to ensure total economic inclusivity, as we usher in a new decade.