The importance of community to African business

community_for_african_businessOne could argue that Ubuntu is one of the founding principles of democratic South Africa. The familiar maxim comes to mind: I am because we are. Because Ubuntu is an embedded part of South African life, it often filters into business practises. Businesses are created to serve communities, sometimes with the help of the communities themselves. Through our own efforts, we at Paycorp support the enrichment of communities and in this blog we highlight the positive, synergistic relationship that African communities can have with African businesses.

The role of Ubuntu in African business

Initially, Ubuntu comes across as a social concept but time has proven that it can be a business concept too. While there are many ways to operate a business that is closely linked to communities, the basic principles can be distilled to the following:

  • Integrate, engage and interact. Proximity is crucial when running a community-focused business. The closer your business is to the people it is serving, the better. Not only does this allow your business to reach the people easier, it fosters trust and familiarity which strengthens the relationship between the business and the community.
  • Celebrate, empower and learn. Community-focused businesses are aimed at changing people’s lives for the better. Whether it’s establishing platforms for community members to excel, increasing their political and economic participation or simply making their lives a little easier, this aspect should be the result of these businesses, in addition to profit.

Businesses and communities that work together ensure mutual success

Here are some examples of businesses aimed at uplifting African communities through innovation and cooperation:

Repurpose Schoolbags Repurpose Schoolbags was born when it was observed that schoolchildren in rural communities walked great distances to and from school carrying their books and school supplies in tattered plastic bags, if anything at all. The Repurposeful Bags are made from 100% recycled plastic bags and they harness the sun’s energy so that the pupils who use them can have solar-powered lamps for their studying and homework at night.

Mukuru is a remittance service that allows anyone in South Africa to send money to neighbouring African countries at a flat, affordable rate. Remittances from South Africa can be expensive and complicated, forcing many to opt for informal channels such as sending money through the bus system. There are six easy ways that consumers can send money with Mukuru; they can even do it at their nearest Kazang merchant.

Q Drum, another problem that rural communities face is having to walk a long way to find a safe and clean source of water. Q Drum produces rollable water barrels so that women, children and the ageing members of these rural communities don’t have to carry heavy water containers on their heads during these long journeys. The barrels can hold up to 50 litres of water and are built to last eight years, with regular usage.

Better business, better lives

Paycorp’s purpose is to connect people to their money and businesses to their customers, combined with a philosophy of having fun, making money and doing good, means that we commit ourselves to contributing to the greater good as part of doing business. Paycorp supports a number of initiatives and charity organisations such as the St Laurence’s Children’s Haven and the Paycorp Empowerment Trust.

You too can become an entrepreneur who does good by becoming a Kazang merchant. Your customers will be able to send money to loved ones in neighbouring countries through your terminal, and they can purchase other prepaid products and services such as electricity, mobile data, international calling vouchers and airtime – and you will earn a rebate on every transaction made. Download our comprehensive Kazang brochure below.