Writer: Colleen Lewis
Last week, Raizcorp featured on the itinerary of a high-level delegation from the United States Department of State. Led by the Under Secretary of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Judith A McHale, a delegation from Washington DC visited the Raizcorp’s flagship business incubator in Sandton, Johannesburg on Friday. They were there to investigate how Raizcorp’s world renowned incubation model works and what impact it has had on job creation.
McHale said that enterprise development is a primary focus for the United States and that the purpose of the Africa tour was to investigate how the United States could help to drive the growth of entrepreneurship on the continent. Raizcorp attracted the attention of the delegation because the company is garnering international recognition as the only unfunded, profitable business incubator on the African continent with a unique incubation model and innovative methodology.
McHale said that employment is a major driver of political stability anywhere in the world and that the US government would like to find ways of working together with enterprise development initiatives on the global stage to help create jobs and stronger economic impact. “Our fates are inextricably bound together. We would therefore like to participate in unleashing intellectual responsibility for coming up with enterprise development solutions. In this regard, technologists and civil society in the US have much to offer to small businesses in developing economies,” she said.
Two of the Raizcorp incubation programmes, Arize and Partner Elite, have recently attracted increased international attention as best practice models for business incubation. In this year alone the model has been presented at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland and in Spain, Portugal and the UK to key stakeholders and world leaders in enterprise development.
Arize specialises in enterprise development and is aligned with the imperatives for broad-based black empowerment in South Africa. Raizcorp CEO, Allon Raiz, said that Arize is now supporting more than 180 small businesses, which have thus far created approximately 6,500 jobs. Participating companies can progress through a number of growth stages and they have the option to enter into a long-term equity partnership with Raizcorp. “Our support remains relevant and adds value at every level and, after eleven years of operation, all the original companies that joined Raizcorp are still partners,” he said.
Partner Elite focuses on partnering with SME businesses to help them become profitable and grow to the next level. Raiz attributes part of Raizcorp’s success to its model for organic growth in which a minority portion of the nett profits of its established partners is invested in supporting the newcomers to Raizcorp. Raizcorp has built its reputation on the Partner model and the successes it has had through this programme. Raizcorp is renowned for its high-touch, high-impact environment that has produced some spectacular results and earned it a host of international accolades and awards.
To gain access to Raizcorp incubation programmes, candidates have to meet certain criteria and also go through a stringent screening process in order to be selected.
Raizcorp has seven incubators throughout South Africa and is soon to roll out Raizcorp incubators elsewhere in Africa. A significant factor in its expansion is that Raizcorp provides companies with the opportunity to sponsor the admission of candidates to the Raizcorp programme as part of meeting their broad-based BEE scorecard obligations or alternatively as part of local economic development initiatives
For more information about Raizcorp, contact Chris Jones on 011 566 2000 or visit www.raizcorp.com.