BEE Education and business mix a great combination

14 March 2008 TSiBA

It's the age-old debate that NGOs are constantly up against: how to raise money for the cause? A little innovation, along with businesses with the same visions can lead to unique long-term income. TSiBA Education recently launched a great new idea with its Trust that may revolutionise the way schools and tertiary institutions approach their funding in the future.

Imagine a completely free business degree offering previously disadvantaged youngsters the opportunity to create wealth for themselves and their families. Sound too good to be true? It's a reality at TSiBA, a private, not-for-profit higher education which places all its students on a full tuition scholarship. The catch? As TSiBA does not charge students nor receive any government subsidy, the institution has to build a sustainable funding model so that students for generations to come can go on to build a future for South Africa.

To this end, the Tertiary School in Business Administration (TSiBA) has entered into a partnership with Effective Intelligence, a subsidiary of the RCS Group. Says Anthony Haggie, TSiBA's Trust Manager, "RCS has enabled TSiBA to buy shares in Effective Intelligence, a data-mining company. The Trust's intention is to create a capital base with our investments, thereby creating a dividend flow that will help to sustain the TSiBA Education in the long term."

TSiBA's unusual business model for generating its own funding has been realised with the collaboration of TSiBA and RCS to meet the needs of both parties. As TSiBA is one hundred percent BEE compliant, partnering up with TSiBA offers value to partners across all pillars of the Codes of Good Practice. Says Leigh Meinert, TSiBA's Managing Director, "Along with TSiBA's high BEE compliance, it is a very good social investment for companies. Our Trust model is a pilot project for us that we hope will grow into a number of investments into various companies."

"The opportunity to bring this vision to life was made possible through collaborating with RCS. RCS staff members lecture and mentor at TSiBA and so there has been an ongoing relationship between our organisation and the company for some time," elaborates Meinert.

Together with RCS, TSiBA has developed a new business program called the `Personal Finance Curriculum' that will aim to teach the students financial literacy by covering money management, debt management and financial rights and obligations. "Through our partnership with RCS, we are able to reach many more people and in the long term, this good financial practice will filter into the industry and hopefully to millions of people," says Meinert.

RCS Group CEO Karl Westvig also believes strongly in the project. "RCS is very proud to be part of this Trust. This model is the first of its kind and will give TSiBA the opportunity to become self-sustainable. Through the creation of this project, TSiBA have given RCS the opportunity to improve their BEE compliance through its subsidiary Effective Intelligence, as well as investing in society through the great work that the school is doing."

"It has enabled TSiBA to dream big and to give its students the skills they'll need so that they can pay it forward into their communities and South Africa as a whole," Meinert says. TSiBA will see its first set of students graduate this year with a Bachelor of Business Administration.

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