Liberty, together with key partners, is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of entrepreneurs by implementing various projects to assist them

Liberty has chosen an integrated approach to transformation in SA, as demonstrated through its transformation vision, which goes beyond compliance. The company’s commitment to increasing the pace and impact of its transformation journey for communities is expressed through various programmes and initiatives, which carry a partnership approach that is stakeholder-led.

Each key stakeholder group offers a form of capital that contributes to the successful delivery of Liberty’s strategy. The company understands the limitations to that capital and its ability to either manage, renew or find alternative sources.

Given the nature of Liberty’s business as a significant public-interest company providing financial products and services (in many cases contracted over future years), there is the implicit requirement to manage the business sustainably and avoid failure under virtually all modelled scenarios.

Liberty identifies and partners with key stakeholder groups that provide resources that materially influence the value drivers of the business model. These stakeholders are actively engaged and managed to ensure that an optimal balance of the respective objectives is achieved.

The Liberty Blue Skies Enterprise and Supplier Development Programme has been purposefully scoped to provide meaningful impact for all stakeholders. It was established on the principle of changing realities by helping people achieve financial freedom – be it in their personal capacity or in their business.

A year ago, Liberty and Standard Bank joined forces by committing their financial muscle and expertise to growing and developing entrepreneurship on the continent. Thus far, more than 120 women-owned businesses have been supported through targeted accelerator programmes. Youth-owned businesses are also being advanced in the technology and innovation space.

The Liberty and Standard Bank Accelerator programmes are aimed at improving the lives of SA’s female entrepreneurs and practically helping them take their businesses to the next level. They achieve this by accelerating their access to markets by preparing them to do business with major corporate supply chains such as Standard Bank, Liberty and the corporate clients within their networks.

The various accelerator cohorts of women entrepreneurs undergo a 12-week programme that enhances their core skills in areas such as business modelling and strategy; branding and marketing; sales; financial and risk management; HR management; e-commerce; EQ in business; social media and digital management; and how to perfect their sales pitch. These high-potential women entrepreneurs are readied to showcase their businesses, brands, products and services to potential clients and decision-makers in the corporate world.

The success of the Accelerator programmes will be measured by the ability of this first group of entrepreneurs to access new markets, secure new business, and be better equipped to grow their businesses to full potential. The showcase day at the end of each programme is key to the achievement of these goals.

Liberty’s partnerships in the industry include the provision of funding and business development assistance with the Association for Savings and Investments of South Africa (ASISA). Over the past year, Liberty has supported the first ASISA stockbroker programme in partnership with members of the organisation.

The company also expanded the Blue Skies programme to support a further 19 supply chain-linked businesses.

Ten of these suppliers recently had the opportunity to exhibit at the Smart Procurement World Expo in order to expand their networks and increase access to market opportunities.

While Liberty is in the business of looking after customers at their point of vulnerability, it is also there to look after their hopes and dreams. For 60 years, Liberty has been changing realities in society. The company says: ‘Liberty is not just our name. It’s what we do.’

Liberty believes that collective action is required to build a sustainable society, and entrepreneurship is the key to shifting the dial in order for society to thrive. As a proudly SA company with a rich heritage, Liberty will continue to invest in entrepreneurship so that they can continue to change realities.

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