Corporate Social Investment
The Bank’s sustainability and success are inextricably linked to the prosperity and wellbeing of all. To achieve our purpose, our core business activities must support and contribute to this prosperity and wellbeing.
The aim of Corporate Social Investment (CSI) is for the bank to take its rightful position as a good corporate citizen by way of contributing to the betterment of the society and ploughing back to the communities in which we operate.
Our current CSI value driver is entrepreneurship, through the Entrepreneurship Development Programme (EDP) launched in 2018. EDP is a comprehensive programme that has combined several initiatives in the area of sponsorships and products that have been specifically tailored to meet the needs of our economy. The programme seeks to address the challenges of unemployment, lack of finance for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), financial inclusion for unbanked and under banked sectors of society as well as capacity challenges that face the entrepreneurial sector in our country in general. From the sponsorship perspective, the bank committed to five initiatives with the total investment of M1.9million in 2019.
• Enterprise Hub
The foundations of EDP started in 2017, when the bank opened a facility called the Enterprise Hub housed within Business Banking at Maseru Mall. This facility provides entrepreneurs with access to office space, internet and market information that is free for entrepreneurs. In 2018, the facility has introduced the skills development component, where the bank has engaged a local consultant, who provides business management skills for SMEs. About 60 selected SMEs undertake a training programme annually to capacitate them to run viable and profitable businesses that can increase employment and contribute significantly to economic development.
• Lionesses of Africa
The bank also hosts the ‘Lionesses of Africa Lean-In’ programme. This programme targets young women in business and seeks to empower them to run and grow their businesses. In particular, Lioness of Africa links young women entrepreneurs with seasoned and experienced business women in Lesotho and in 20 other African countries where the Standard Bank Group is represented.
• The Entrepreneurship Network (TEN)
The bank sponsors The Entrepreneurship Network (TEN) to support the monthly hook up dinner events, a platform for sharing ideas and networking amongst entrepreneurs. The events organized by TEN culminate into the annual Entrepreneurship Expo to he hosted in November every year.
• Bacha Entrepreneurship Project
The bank has also renewed a contract for the 2nd phase of Bacha Entrepreneurship Project in partnership with Basotho Enterprises Development Corporation (BEDCO) and Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA). The project provides seed capital to young unemployed youth to start new businesses that to combat youth unemployment. To date, the project has injected over M2.2 million as seed capital for start-up businesses supported by the three organizations. About 40 youth have been employed in different businesses and over 100 trained and capacitated with entrepreneurial skills.
• Supplier Development Project
The Supplier Development Programme seeks to develop local suppliers with the aim to improve their products so that they meet international standards and they are consumed in the country and beyond. The project has identified suppliers in the sectors of water bottling, textile production, furniture, Information Technology and promotional materials. Tied to developing these suppliers, the bank intends to assist them to access local and international markets, starting with the bank itself, where the intention is to increase local spending from the current 55% to 70%.