Corporate Responsibility in Sub-Saharan Africa
J.P. Morgan is committed to building vibrant communities, preserving our environment and promoting an inclusive culture across the globe that benefits people not only today, but for generations to come.
Globally, J.P. Morgan, through the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, provides grants to charities in three areas of focus: Education, Community Development and Arts & Culture. We prioritize our funding efforts to focus on responding to the deepening social need in the communities we serve. Across Sub-Saharan Africa our commitments include:
- SME Catalyst for Growth Programme
- Rural Education Access Programme (REAP)
- Shared Interest/Thembani
SME Catalyst for Growth Programme
In South Africa, the SME sector has the potential to positively affect the high level of unemployment and the relatively low economic growth rate in the country. J.P. Morgan has learnt that while access to finance is a challenge for SMEs in South Africa, there are several pools of capital currently targeting the sector. A more pressing challenge is the lack of management capacity and skills in the start up and early growth phases of an SME and it is this support that the SME Catalyst for Growth programme is targeting.
The programme will support two high quality Business Development Services (BDS) providers in South Africa, Raizcorp and Aurik, to help them increase their reach to urban SMEs in the Gauteng province. Through their product suite of BDS, Aurik and Raizcorp will work with ten businesses each and help the selected entrepreneurs achieve real growth for their businesses. The programme, through its partnership with Dalberg, a strategy consulting firm specializing in international development, will also establish the platform for transparency and standardization in the quality of BDS provision.
For more information on the programme, read the initial research report that provides background and context for the initiative and a follow-up report, which details the progress that the programme has made just one year later.
Rural Education Access Programme (REAP)
J.P. Morgan is partnering with REAP to help prepare students from rural backgrounds to access and enter higher education. Students are recruited from rural schools by REAP’s extensive network of volunteers. REAP offers its students full cost bursaries in partnership with the National Skills Fund, monthly mentoring, and support from a team of graduate student advisors.
J.P. Morgan will be supporting a pilot programme for earlier engagement with students, starting with Grade 11, to prepare them for entry into higher education. The objective of the programme is to improve course choice, provide preparation for tertiary education, and to simplify access in order to prevent drop out and enhance success.
J.P. Morgan recently funded a grant for Banking on Mentors, a pilot programme by Shared Interest and Thembani in South Africa, to help support the creation of a mentorship programme to develop successful and scalable black enterprises The grant will be utilized to develop a network of mentors trained in development finance to work with the two organisations and their guarantee recipients. Banking on Mentors will assist new entrepreneurs in gaining a better understanding of the role of commercial capital and the enhanced means through which to acquire it. The mentors’ role is to help build the pool of highly-trained entrepreneurs within the small business sector and to assist them in building top-quality businesses.
These enterprises, with strengthened technical capacity, will be able to create additional jobs with further returns to the economic and social sector in South Africa. This project hold a significant importance in addressing South Africa’s challenge of a lack of skills held by emerging entrepreneurs, dating back to apartheid era wherein educational disparities were widespread. With J.P. Morgan’s support, Thembani and Shared Interest will launch a project to correct the legacy of apartheid, create a network of mentors to train emerging entrepreneurs and ultimately enhance the small business landscape in South Africa.
TechnoServe’s mission is to help entrepreneurial men and women in the developing world build businesses that create income, opportunity and economic growth. It overcomes market failures by providing expert advice, technical and business capacity building, and by opening markets for entrepreneurs’ goods and services. J.P. Morgan is supporting Technoserve’s key programme in the Nkomazi region in Mpumalanga province in South Africa – the Nkomazi Expanded Agribusiness Development Initiative (NEADi). The NEADi programme is a continuation of work that TechnoServe has been doing in the Nkomazi District since 2007.
The initial grant from J.P. Morgan in 2008 was given to TechnoServe to support five entrepreneurial farming enterprises in the historically disadvantaged communities of the Nkomazi Municipality. The support assisted these businesses to create employment and develop agronomic and business skills. In 2011, funding from J.P. Morgan will support NEADi’s efforts to consolidate on learnings from the first phase of the programme and apply them to ensure the businesses from Phase I are self sustainable. Technoserve also aims to apply the learnings to a wider pool of emerging farmers in the area, thereby creating a critical mass of sustainable farmers in Nkomazi.