Our Ethos | Our Impact | Our Future
While Ethos' primary objective is to maximise stakeholder value by generating superior returns, we unequivocally recognise our role in the broader South African community.
We embrace the premise of a 'good corporate citizen' and firmly believe that our activities support the South African economy, the government's economic development policies and our broader stakeholders. Simply put, our activities make sound business sense resulting in improved returns to our investors.
Ethos is committed to supporting initiatives at the forefront of education and welfare, for the upliftment and empowerment of disadvantaged people.
Ethos is committed to supporting economic growth, meaningful Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment in South Africa and the eradication of poverty and inequality.
We do this by setting the vision and strategic compass of our investee companies to drive B-BBEE transformation activities and internal processes in order to monitor, maintain and achieve meaningful, sustainable and successful levels of compliance at Ethos.
We embrace the premise of promoting and implementing ‘best in practice’ methodology to Ethos in terms of B-BBEE and firmly believe that our activities enhance social development and economic value.
Ethos strives to implement strategies that embrace the requirements and ‘spirit’ of B-BBEE, namely employing members of designated groups, incorporating training and development initiatives – specifically the implementation of Learnerships and Bursaries to black employees.
We believe that this combination of activities not only supports the South African economy, the government's economic development policies and our broader stakeholders, but simply makes sound business sense, resulting in improved returns to our investors.
Furthermore, we are continually identifying and supporting black-owned and black-women owned suppliers wherever possible.
Social Impact Programme
Ethos is committed to supporting initiatives at the forefront of education and welfare, for the upliftment and empowerment of disadvantaged people. Our long-established Social Impact Programme provides support to a number of local projects, including:
Student Sponsorship Programme – provides educational opportunities to hundreds of South African students from low-income families to attend the best secondary schools in Gauteng and the Eastern Cape. www.ssp.org.za
- To date, Ethos has provided 11years of private school fees in partnership with SSP.
Grey College (Bram Fischer Trust) – Launched by Nelson Mandela, the Bram Fischer Trust endeavours to raise funds to enable boys who otherwise would not be able to afford it, attend Grey College. www.greycollege.com
- In 2015, Ethos became a sponsor of the Bram Fischer Trust. We currently support a Grade 10 learner.
Operation Smile (South Africa) – Based in Cape Town, OSSA medical volunteers provide free surgeries to children and young adults, together with educational and training opportunities to promote sustainability and self-sufficiency. www.southafrica.operationsmile.org
- Ethos has supported OSSA for 6 years, equating to c.18 cleft palate surgeries.
- In 2015, Operation Smile was Ethos’ focus charity, meaning that beyond capital, we supported the initiative through other staff-led activities, including Mandela Day.
Staff-driven and other initiatives
Beyond our formal programme, Ethos also actively supports a number of other initiatives. Likewise, we encourage staff-driven activities which benefit a variety of projects while enhancing internal motivation. Some of these ‘behind-the-scenes’ initiatives are:
Mandela Day – established by the United Nations, Mandela Day is a global call to action that celebrates the idea that each individual has the power to transform the world, the ability to make an impact. The day promotes volunteering and community service. www.mandeladay.com
- Ethos staff contributed and assisted with making up 44 Smile Bags for Operation Smile patients who have undergone cleft palate surgery.
Sweethearts Foundation – a non-profit organisation that collects bread bag tags and bottle tops. The plastic from these items is ‘exchanged’ for wheelchairs for underprivileged recipients. To date, the Sweethearts Foundation has handed over 161 wheelchairs to beneficiaries having collected 13 401kg of bottle tops and 2 262kg of bread bag tags. www.sweetheartsfoundation.org
- Ethos supports this initiative by donating all of our milk and water bottle tops.
Green Office – employs disabled people to clean and strip old print cartridges, allowing the units to be completely recycled.
Through its work in the three main areas of recycling, cartridge collection and skills development, Green Office helps to address social, economic and environmental challenges and gives beneficiaries the ability to lead financially empowered lives while also making a meaningful contribution to the environment.
It is the only initiative of its kind in Africa. www.greenoffice.co.za/#community
- We donate all of our used printer cartridges.
Food & Trees for Africa - the first (and still only) South African social enterprise that develops, promotes and facilitates greening, climate change action, food security and sustainable natural resource use and management.
Since 1990, over 4.2 million trees, 1000’s of permaculture food gardens, bamboo projects and organic farms have been planted for poor communities. www.trees.co.za
- Many of our staff have elected, in honour of their birthdays, to donate to plant a tree in barren landscapes, to offset carbon emissions towards a greener, more sustainable and lower carbon South Africa. To date, 52 Ethos trees have been planted.
Rays of Hope – Rays of Hope started operating with one project in the northern Johannesburg township of Alexandra in 1991 and has grown to a network of 9 community-based projects, focusing on unemployment, health care, education, and orphans & vulnerable children. Over 1000 people are impacted in total. www.raysofhope.co.za
- Ethos donates all of our “chipped but usable” crockery to Rays of Hope. To date, we have delivered two crates worth to be distributed to needy families and social groups.
- Every second month, Ethos staff spend some of their lunchtime preparing 300 sandwiches in 30 minutes. The ingredients and time are donated. Our 300 sandwiches (sometimes more!) are delivered to Rose-Act, Alexandra Campus, where approximately 250 students from Grades 4 – 9 are taught Mathematics and English on Saturdays.
Enterprise & Supplier Development
Over the past 12 years, Ethos has contributed to Enterprise Development initiatives that support the growth and development of small, black-owned businesses. We have also made meaningful contributions to multiple organisations and charities as part of our transformation, social and ethics responsibility.
We are proud of the role we played in the establishment of Sphere Private Equity which is a successful black-owned investment firm in South Africa. Ethos’ relationship with Sphere includes representation on the Sphere Private Equity board of directors and Sphere Fund I investment committee.
Ethos has also supported The Hope Factory, a non-profit organisation governed by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA), since 2012.
The Hope Factory has been instrumental in developing a sustainable business plan with a 100% black-owned small business within Ethos’ supply chain.
The programme provides financial assistance together with a platform for further training and mentorship. Such initiatives are fundamental in assisting small business owners in achieving their full potential.
Ethos is committed to developing talent within our firm and we have high expectations of excellence. As such, we run an Analyst Programme whereby we hire a small number of exceptional individuals to work within our investment teams, evaluating investment opportunities and work with our portfolio companies to optimise performance.
The 12 to 24-month programme is designed to give participants broad experience and exposure across the private equity value chain.
Our programme started in 2013. To date, 11 analysts have participated, of which six were Black, Coloured or Indian and four were female candidates. Seven have been converted to permanent, full time employees.
Since December 2014, Ethos has supported four black disabled students through the Signa Academy.
Unfortunately, two students terminated their studies during this period due to ill health. We currently have two African disabled females studying Business Administration and Project Management.
The Ethos Educational Foundation Trust
Since January 2013, the Trust has sponsored and supported four students in achieving their respective qualifications at the University of Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria in the areas of Financial, Engineering and Accounting.
The principal objective of the Trust is to provide financial assistance and personal development to previously disadvantaged individuals to study, therefore creating opportunities to enter the Financial Services sector. The benefits are spread equitably amongst previously disadvantaged black men and women.
The success of this initiative has been driven through Ethos’ close collaboration with The Tomorrow Trust and providing beneficiaries with a sustainable mentorship and vacation work programme to enhance opportunities for future employment.
The Tomorrow Trust, is a South African non-profit organisation that supports orphaned and vulnerable children throughout their educational journey.
Ethos ABET Programme
Three Ethos staff members are participating in Adult Basic Education and Training (‘ABET’).
Adult basic education and training is the general conceptual foundation towards lifelong learning and development, comprising of knowledge, skills and attitudes required for social, economic and political participation and transformation applicable to a range of contexts. ABET is flexible, developmental and targeted at the specific needs of particular audiences and ideally, provides access to nationally recognised certificates.
Recently, Bongani Manana, Miriam Bob and Petros Mabuza each received a certificate in English Communications, having attended training two mornings a week for six months. Their training is facilitated at Ethos’ offices by Triple-E Training.
We are immensely proud of their achievements.
”ABET has helped me to grow as a person and has empowered me with more knowledge”. - Petros Mabuza
“I have gained more knowledge which has motivated and empowered me in the most valuable manner”. - Miriam Bob
"ABET has given me more knowledge and knowlede is Power!" - Bonjani Manana