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Bongumusa Makhathini to lead Empowerment Capital as CEO

A Harvard Business School graduate and current chairman of the SABC Board, Bongumusa Makhathini has held several directorships, including at SA Breweries (director of Corporate Affairs & Transformation), British American Tobacco (director of Legal & External Affairs) and African Commercial Diplomacy Consulting (managing director).
Bongumusa Makhathini, Empowerment Capital Investment Partners' first CEO
Bongumusa Makhathini, Empowerment Capital Investment Partners' first CEO

Makhathini has been appointed as the first chief executive officer of Empowerment Capital Partners, a venture capital and investment business that seeks to transform lives, create jobs and build businesses through investments that provide a hand up, not a handout.

During an extraordinary deal making year in 2020/21, Empowerment Capital Investment Partners has placed more than R200m into more than 20 South African startups through its three investment funds – Andzani Ventures, Imvelo Ventures and Thuthuka Nathi Ventures. These investment funds are backed by South African corporates Sappi, Shoprite Checkers and Capitec Bank.

Started in 2015 by Anton Baumann and Mark Fitzjohn, Empowerment Capital is seeking aggressive growth as it enters the next phase of its business, to raise funding with institutional investors for further support of the SMME sector. The focus of the next 24-month growth phase is a second raise of third-party institutional and international investment into a portfolio of de-risked investment assets backed by strong listed corporate partners that both value financial returns and which naturally meet social upliftment and transformation objectives.

BizcommunityCongrats on being appointed as CEO at Empowerment Capital. How do you feel?

I am thrilled - I have been afforded an opportunity to make a tangible contribution in the economic transformation of our country and impacting lives in a meaningful way.
This is our country; we have a responsibility to be part of the solution and to play our part in tackling the inequality gap and creating sustainable jobs.
BizcommunityWhat will your new role entail?

Leadership of the team, enabling growth through impactful engagements, fundraising, and growing the shared value.

BizcommunityHow and when did this come about?

I met Mark and Anton during the preliminary conceptual stages of Empowerment Capital. I was intrigue by the novelty of their approach to transformation – which in essence is transformation through investment. We kept contact and early this year they approached me for a discussion and an update on the progress they had made. We agreed to work together to grow.

BizcommunityWhen do you take up this position?

I took up the role on 9 June 2021.

BizcommunityWhat excites you most about taking on this role?

This role gives me an opportunity to directly contribute to the creation and support of SME sector and the creation of a new asset class. Transformation cannot be a slogan or political statement, but it must be led and championed by the private sector. The ultimate goal is to effectively deal with the inequality gap and unemployment.

BizcommunityWhat do you love most about your career, the industry and what you do?

I have been fortunate to work in different industries with people from all walks of life. I spent years in IT and management consulting, agriculture, FMCG, broadcasting, and I am now in the venture capital space. I have learnt a lot, been stretched, challenged yet content.
The most humbling part of my career has been the opportunities I have been given to be part of something bigger than myself, fulfilling my purpose in life and impacting others in a meaningful way.
BizcommunityWhat approach will you take going forward at Empowerment Capital?

Growth remains our next phase and our focus. The approach should be geared to win new investors, funding more SMEs and growing Empowerment Capital impact and shareholder value.

About Evan-Lee Courie

Editor: Marketing & Media; Head of Content for Entrepreneurship
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