Powering Possibilities Through Enterprise DevelopmentThe private sector is one of the main pillars upon which the Nation Brand rests. It goes without saying that the concurrent exportation and inward investment of goods and services contributes to economic growth and thus a strong and competitive Nation Brand. What often goes unnoticed, however, is how the private sector plays its part in nation building and social cohesion.Supporting the country’s development agenda by contributing to positive social change has become increasingly important for many businesses. One such business that plays an active role in nation building and the promotion of economic transformation in South Africa is Exxaro Resources. Exxaro Resources is one of the largest and foremost black-empowered coal and heavy mineral companies in South Africa. In line with its vision of powering better lives in Africa and beyond, Exxaro Resources developed a programme called the Enterprise and Supplier Development (ESD). ESD refers to a set of affirmative action and local content development measures aimed at promoting economic transformation.Zebra Force General Investments and Stenda Trading (Pty) Ltd are different but equally wonderful examples of the impact that the ESD programme has had.Agriculture and economic development Zebra Force General Investments (ZFGI) is a company that was started by a former Exxaro Resources employee, Thulani Dube. Dube recently benefited from an enterprise development grant that will help him scale and automate his poultry business, ZFGI Monumental Chickens. Located in Bronkhorstspruit, Dube has emerged as a highly adaptive entrepreneur who left behind a career in finance to embark on a new path in farming. After a commodity downturn in 2016, Exxaro Resources was forced to offer voluntary retrenchment to some of its workers and Dube was among those affected. Rather than face the discouraging shortage of jobs and an indefinite term of unemployment, Dube used his severance package to purchase a piece of land and set up a chicken broiler operation.ZFGI Monumental Chickens is the first entity that was created out of this holding company and Dube has imitated the diversified success of his sponsor by expanding into building contracting, carried out under ZFGI Construction.ZFGI Monumental Chickens received an R8.9 million grant for capital expenditure and infrastructure improvements that will enable the business to triple its existing annual turnover of R4 million – provided off-take agreements can be secured.In return for the R8.9 million grant, Exxaro Resources will be credited with building a commercial-scale agribusiness enterprise that currently employs 20 people directly and benefits up to 100 people across the value chain.Mining and community developmentStenda Trading (Pty) Ltd is a 100% black, women and youth owned business that was established by Matshidiso Dlungwane in 2016. Matshidiso is from Mamelodi, Pretoria and previously worked in the mining sector as a Metallurgical engineer.Stenda Trading was established to provide multi-disciplinary services and address the shortage of women run and owned companies providing technical services in the mining sector.At Exxaro Resources, Stenda Trading provides underground civil and underground cleaning services at Matla Coal Mine. Once it was awarded these contracts in 2018, Stenda Trading approached the Exxaro Enterprise and Supplier Development (ESD) for financial support. The company was awarded an interest free loan of R9,2 million to procure equipment, vehicles to transport material and employees to site as well as a mobile office.The business has been able to maintain 16 jobs and create an additional 61 new jobs for people who are from the surrounding communities of the mine.Private sector commitment to progressive change and nation building More and more businesses like Exxaro Resources remain committed to playing their part in the country’s socio-economic development. There is a growing understanding that socio-economic change will not come about without an empowered society that collaborates with one another for the greater good. The private sector should continue to share in the responsibility of nation building and strengthening the South Africa’s Nation Brand.For more information on Exxaro Resources, visit their website. Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.