Big trees grow from small seeds. The JSE understands this fundamental investment truth better than most, which is why education-focused activities remain a priority in our CSI and development work. The JSE Investment Challenge is a perfect example of this. The Challenge – which we have run for more than 40 years now – is a fun, interactive, online trading game that aims to demystify the stock exchange.

In 2019 we had more than 23 000 high-school learners and university students participating in the JSE Investment Challenge, getting to grips with the world of finance and learning how to invest in JSE-listed shares. This year also saw us appointing and upskilling unemployed graduates and students to act as mentors/catalyst teachers, helping schools in disadvantaged communities to participate in the Investment Challenge.

Our CSI efforts go hand in hand with our transformation and development initiatives. Both are focused on national priority issues (including poverty alleviation, job creation and youth and community development); on causes that are strategically aligned to our business, and to which the JSE is best suited to make a meaningful contribution (such as enterprise development and financial literacy).

Small businesses play a pivotal role in growing SA’s economy. SMEs often lead innovation by delivering the greatest number of private-sector jobs, and collectively generating the greatest growth in tax revenues over the past years. That’s why the JSE’s Supplier Development programme focuses on developing SMEs as a major contributing factor to job creation.

It accelerates and supports high-potential SMEs to move to the next level, working with the business owners to strengthen their underlying systems, which enables them to grow and scale in a sustainable way. As a result, their ability to provide products and/or services to corporate supply chains is greatly enhanced. That’s a benefit to both the SME and to the JSE as corporate sponsor.

Enterprise and supplier development means nothing if it doesn’t support procurement spend targets with black-owned exempted micro-enterprises and qualifying small enterprise suppliers. Therefore, SMEs are selected in alignment with the JSE’s overall strategy, through investigating real supply chain opportunities that are currently allocated to non-compliant service providers or suppliers with a poor BEE score.

The JSE’s Enterprise Development programme helps our black stockbroker member firms develop their businesses – all firms that meet the amended Financial Sector Code’s definition of a black stockbroking firm (at least 51% black ownership and annual turnover of less than R100 million) are offered the opportunity to enter into an enterprise development agreement with the JSE. Qualifying participants receive 33% of the equity trading fees as well as 33% of their membership/new API connectivity fees back in cash on a quarterly basis, in arrears.

Participants are expected to use the funds to develop their businesses – either by employing more resources or by acquiring technological tools that will enhance their service offering and, ultimately, their business.

We’re seeing the success of this programme already. The 15 member firms that have participated since its launch in 2016 have returned more than R21 million in grants. 

Idris Seedat
JSE Head of Transformation and CSI