Corporate Vision February 2017

, Support for Social Enterprises David Oliphant of The Euclid Society talks to Corporate Visionmagazine about the firmand its areas of specialism. “We have been in operation since April 2014 here in the Western Cape of South Africa,” he begins. “We provide capacity building platforms for vulnerable groups with a focus on business support services to social enterprises, improving the access of employment opportunities to low-income earning people and basic sports training for the youth. We have so far helped non-profit organisations such as the Haven Night Shelter (a progressing night shelter assisting with the reintegration of homeless people into society) with capacity building programmes in terms of assisting their clients with financial planning and goal setting techniques. “The programme assisting the Haven Night Shelter’s clients is called StreetWise aiming to reintroduce homeless people to job opportunities. The learning is also underpinned by a strong social work component as well platforms to assist budgeting and learning the basic skills necessary to keep a basic skills job such as interview etiquette and anger management. We have also been lucky enough to work with some entrepreneurs in the Western Cape through our programme called Financial Literacy. The entrepreneurs include RAW Construction (a plastering subcontractor), NK Security (a security contractor) and District Six Recycling. All these entrepreneurs have a few things in common: they come from low-income backgrounds and use their business to feed their families and provide employment to other low-income individuals.” David goes into a little more detail about the firm’s overall mission statement and the steps that are taken to ensure it is achieved. “Our mission is to provide capacity building platforms for vulnerable groups with a focus on business support services to social enterprises, improving the access of employment opportunities to low-income earning people and basic sports training for the youth. We achieve this through: - • Providing research- backed, solution driven, business support services to entrepreneurial ventures and existing enterprises who provide social value to their communities • Improving the network of social enterprises, we assist and thereby garnering work opportunities for vulnerable groups. • Gaining the support of established sporting clubs who are able to provide future development opportunities for the youths of our sporting academy.” David believes that The Euclid Society stands out from the competition due to its fresh, professional approach to the social development sector. “We have vowed to give the people we help the best value for money service but also include very structured and professional methods of project management in terms of initiation, monitoring and reporting,” he states. “Many social development organisations in South Africa struggle with these demands in the modern business environment. It causes many businesses to close simply because their reporting is not what it should be.” Within the African corporate landscape the government is taking a much firmer stance on bigger companies training smaller enterprises. David tells us more about this and about how it affects business. “Through the Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment Policy many organisations are being mandated to ensure that smaller firms are being developed in the market. This is not necessarily a bad thing as it has the potential to develop the industry but it also puts strain on bigger organisations to circumvent their monitoring and reporting ability to training. In a slight way, it assists us as our business model is skills development and it therefore becomes a gap in the market that we can fill as a service provider. “The lack of quality infrastructure is affecting the positive growth of the country and region as a whole. It hampers adequate transport and movability of the population. It also is rooted in problems of skills – it requires a good amount of skills within the population to have an effective infrastructure system. “We have a good base in the social networking spheres in terms of a Facebook account and a Bizcommunity account. We are however moving towards creating a mobile app where our members can keep track of the latest and greatest concerning our events.” With regards to the future, David sees big things ahead for The Euclid Society. “Our future seems quite bright as we have started having conversations with a few funders who starting to believe in us and what we are trying to achieve in communities. With their funding, we are able to increase our resource base and the number of people we help. Our partnerships with the Department of Social Development also will enable us to reach around 30 non-profit organisations per year and one by one we are able to improve the skills base on the social development sector. “Through a trusted and well- guided direction in our current jurisdictions we aim to be able to access more people over time. We also revel in uncertainty and complex environments due to our variety in skills held within our labour force. Luckily for us, almost each staff member is from a different locality in South Africa, or a neighbouring country of South Africa which allows for improved relations with new people and cultures.”