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Musa Group Transformation Partnership In Retail 

Musa Group RetailMusa Group (“Musa”) is an investment holding company, that has FMCG, Housing and Construction, Retail Financial Services, as well as an Investment Banking and Private Equity division, all under its group umbrella. While much of Musa’s investment banking work is on larger, transformative transactions, Musa’s other activities are targeted at transforming middle market businesses within our target segments.

In recent times, the notion of social entrepreneurship has become more prevalent in business. Musa has instilled this into their core business strategies, understanding that the long term value of “giving back” whilst conducting business proves far more beneficial to the overall outcome of an organization’s success, than having a focus on the profit motive alone.

The Harvard Business Review (January-February 2011), touched on some vital points relating to the concept of “Creating Shared Value.”

“The concept of shared value recognizes that societal needs, not just conventional economic needs, define markets and social harms can create internal costs for firms…. The concept, which focuses on the connections between societal and economic progress—has the power to unleash the next wave of global growth.” 

The article further states that, “Instead of considering it as the redistributing of a company’s already achieved value, shared value refers, rather, to expanding the total pool of economic and social value,” so as to yield opportunity for prosperity to all parties.

Applying this view to the African landscape, more specifically with respect to the retail sphere, emerging retail owners are faced with severe challenges to be manoeuvred around. The evolving challenges often require innovative thought and co-dependent solution execution. These challenges vary from restricted access to capital, to lack of collateral for securing funding, to the paucity of know-how and to a lack of supplier network.

Musa bases its core ethos on “doing good and doing well” in the eco-systems in which it operates. Consistently looking to diversify its community engagement and stakeholder development, Musa has taken note of the necessity to establish joint ventures aimed at addressing the fundamental needs of entrepreneurs. This has been performed through impactful programmes and tools, all of which address ground level challenges hindering the development of broad-based black economic empowerment (“BBBEE”) beneficiaries. One such ground-breaking instrument is the formalization of an Empowerment Development Programme (“EDP”) between Musa and one of Africa’s largest retail networks. The EDP is centred around the ideology of creating a substantial presence of previously disadvantaged retail store owners and supply chain participants. The EDP espouses the objectives of the South African National Development Plan, which aims to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030.

The programme is focused on acquiring a core group of retail stores with a proven track record and experienced owner-operators who are willing to diversify their personal investments, whilst retaining operational control. This structure is focused on store sustainability and maximising return on investment.

The objective of the programme is to utilise the identified stores as a training ground for the development of entrepreneurs, as they receive formal education, as well as in-store practical training through mentorship from established owner-operators of participating stores. A further aim of the EDP is to create opportunities for successful retailer candidates to acquire equity participation in companies or close corporations that own retail stores. The core of the programme is to broaden and accelerate transformation through targeted human capital development.

Musa envisages numerous achievements from this project, primarily, the development, acceleration and retention of previously disadvantaged retailer candidates who will become independent store owners in the future. Surprisingly, ownership levels in this basic stepping stone of entrepreneurship is extremely low, with less than 5% of owners within this network of stores being from the economically previously disadvantaged segment of the population – along with home ownership, franchising is a major source of early economic activity for wealth creation in emerging segments of any population. In addition to spurring entrepreneurship, there will be improved succession planning through structured personal development programmes within the current ownership structure of stores. This project will also assist in facilitating the transfer of critical skills and competencies from existing successful retailers, through structured mentorship and coaching. True skills development has evaded many of South Africa’s industries and pairing successful entrepreneurs with future aspirants in a hands-on approach portends to deliver more efficacy and more lasting results.

The fundamental growth of our people, our country and our continent depends invariably, on our ability to recognise and pursue opportunities which harness socio-economic advancement. Musa is attempting to rise to the challenge that is being posed to business – that of tackling the social and economic realities prevalent in South Africa, through creative solutions, ultimately driving greater growth in our economy and ameliorating the effects of history that are displaying themselves in a myriad of ways, most visibly captured in South Africa’s shamefully world-leading disparity (as measured by the GINI coefficient). Musa believes that only through creative solutions can the business actively play its role in solving this problem.

“Business cannot succeed in societies that fail. Likewise, where and when business is stifled, societies fail to thrive” 

Bjorn Stigson World Business Council for Sustainable Business (WBCSB)

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