Busisiwe Mkhumbuzi

https://www.linkedin.com/in/busisiwemkhumbuzipooe (website being revamped)

What Does Your Company Do?

In 2016, my partners and I established Tshimong, an organisation providing professional debating services to South African corporates and charities. By 2019, the business’ growth positioned it to take on a new role: fostering a society that’s engaged and empowered. To this end, Tshimong created three business units, Corporate Social investments, Education and Media; each overseeing a separate area of responsibility that culminates in a single goal: allowing the company’s partners to serve South Africa’s youth. As the Chief Executive of Tshimong Social Investments works to create bespoke social investment vehicles unique to clients’ brands or, where a programme is already in place, offering strategic consulting and fund management. Tshimong Social Investments’ primary aim is the empowerment of youth, understanding this to be the key to overcoming poverty and inequality. The unit’s philosophy is a simple one: the structural injustice and inequality bequeathed by Apartheid has, ironically, created rich and exciting opportunities for corporates, giving them the power to improve the lives of the poor and support NGOs in doing sustainable work in their communities. Although social investment is a legal obligation, the reality is that companies do well when society flourishes; and so there is a compelling incentive to give back, beyond the statues and laws governing CSI. That said, many CSI projects lack impact, belying the power of the R9billion spent on projects during 2018 (according to Trialogue). This is where Tshimong Social Investments comes into its own, offering intelligent and innovative planning, implementation and evaluation and monitoring of social investments, that ultimately benefits beneficiaries and companies alike. The unit’s power derives from its connection with beneficiaries and its awareness of their challenges. This enables it to move away from one-time interventions to impactful, sustainable projects that make a real difference to the 3 500 youth that it serves. The unit’s partners include the likes of Absa, Constitution Hill, the Gauteng Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation; the City of Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality: Library and Information Systems Division, the National Basketball Players’ Association (USA), and the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

What is your Biggest Success?

Tshimong Social Investments was created at the behest of clients who understood the company’s potential in the area of youth engagement and empowerment. We have achieved the following: • Managed R5,5 million in social investment programmes in 2019 • 3 500 + youth impacted • We have experience in managing social investment programmes in all nine provinces in South Africa • We are managing an international social investment programme through the National Basketball Players Association (USA) As Chief Executive of Tshimong Social Investments, I have invested much in my personal development. In 2018, I took centre stage as the Programme Director of the 16th Annual Nelson Mandela Lecture that was delivered by President Barack Obama. I am a One Young World Ambassador, and I have spoken at preeminent conferences such as TedWomen, TedXUCT and the Oxford 2020 Education Summit. Most recently, in June 2019, I was named a Forbes Africa 30 Under 30 honouree.

What has been your Biggest Hurdle?

There is an unconscious bias that exists within the corporate social investment sector, and as a young woman in the sector, I start from the back foot and have to prove my credibility irrespective of my experience. But what I have found to solve that challenge is that credibility helps. Additionally, the majority of the decision makers in the corporate social investment sector are risk-averse, and prefer one-time, vanity driven interventions over those that require deeper engagement with communities, and the problems that they face. But we see this as an opportunity to lead the movement and help companies understand what social investments means to them in their context. We hope to win the Rising Star Award in order to bring credibility to the work that we do, and the ideas that we have, so that we can get more opportunities to engage with decision makers within the sector.

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