Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa sees youth as the key to economic recovery in South Africa. Since 2016, CCBSA has spent over R105 million on its Bizniz in a Box (BiB) and more recently Study Buddy Fund (SBF) initiatives.
BiB primarily aims to transform aspiring entrepreneurs into full-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 provided 55 young people from 14 host communities where its business operations are located with access to higher education. The fund pays full tuition, accommodation costs and a monthly stipend. This is in addition to the scholarships that the company gives to the children and young people of the organization’s employees.
The programs are part of the company’s investments to support the government’s efforts in tackling youth unemployment in the country.
“Our young people are resilient and innovative and have shown they can start their own business to make a living. But disillusionment remains high, and now more than ever we need a focused approach to address 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 youth, whether it is providing them with access to education or to help them create businesses,” says Nozicelo Ngcobo, director of public affairs, communication and sustainable development.
The company believes that when companies do business the right way, and not just the easiest way, it will help create inclusive growth opportunities for communities and all their stakeholders, for a better shared future.
Rays of hope are beginning to emerge from South Africa’s economic gloom, as is news on May 31 that the country’s unemployment rate for the first quarter of 2022 had fallen from its record high in fourth quarter of 2021.
According to statistics from the Quarterly Labor Force Survey (EQFT), unemployment in the first quarter of 2022 fell to 34.5% from 35.3% in the previous quarter.
The fact that the South African economy gained around 370,000 jobs during the reporting period potentially indicates that the worst economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic are fading.
“We need to harness the drive, enthusiasm and ability of young people to think outside 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 also need to make sure they are part of the solution and can help spark ideas that they can own,” Ngcobo notes.
“We believe in using our industry leadership to be part of the solution to effect positive change in the country and build a legacy we can be proud of. Ultimately, the objective is to contribute to the revitalization of our communal and rural economies and to support the country’s development agenda by allowing access to education, helping young people to acquire the qualifications necessary to enter in the world of work and, for entrepreneurs, make a real commitment to help them with start-up capital and sustainable support,” says Ngcobo, adding that the representation of young people in business and the potential it represents for the countries cannot be overstated.
Ngcobo concludes, “It is clear that the lower the number of unemployed, the higher the level of education and the entrepreneurial spirit of a people, so we must continue to invest in these two important areas.”
About the CCBSA
Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) is a proudly South African company that began operating as a legal entity in July 2016, following the merger of six non-alcohol ready-to-drink bottling operations. We are a Level 1 B-BBEE qualified company. We employ more than 7,000 people in 13 manufacturing plants 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 make and distribute Coca-Cola beverages that make life’s everyday moments more enjoyable, while doing business the right way. The result is a shared opportunity for our customers, employees, communities and shareholders. We conduct our business in an ethical, transparent and conscientious manner. We embrace an inclusive corporate culture to reflect our African identity. We accelerate sustainable and profitable revenue growth across all categories and deliver an innovative portfolio of products that meet customer needs and 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 everyone.