South Africa needs businesses that have a higher purpose than making profit and adopt sustainability strategies that transcend turnover and that recognise how money can be made by doing good things, which contribute positively towards society as a whole.
Meaningful opportunity-creating will go a long way to solve much frustration among South African youth who need to earn a living. Rather than job creation we should focus on creating and seeking opportunities and gaps in the market.
In just 18 years, Zinto, an isiXhosa word meaning 'many things', has seen the below-the-line brand activation agency and its motivated and vibrant team securing business from top brands while offering a financial and training springboard to success for talented but previously disadvantaged youngsters to become entrepreneurs and performers.
At the helm of this company of talented young people is one such talented businesswoman who has the vision for what is needed in commerce for the future of this country to succeed. Michelle Combrinck, a former educator, has an incredible passion for the youth as well as the ability to understand South Africa's diverse markets. She believes the youth have exceptional raw talent, but no-one gives them a chance in the corporate world.
The activations industry is highly competitive and staying on top of trends while keeping costs reasonable is the only way to retain an edge. One of the areas in which Zinto is able to create a point of difference is through its staff, who have first-hand knowledge and understanding of the main market.
Zinto recruits promising youngsters who desperately want to acquire skills, and as the company creates brand excitement via the arts, they are able to give talented individuals an opportunity to grow and develop whilst being a part of a business team.
Combrinck ensures that these youngsters look at the skills and aptitude which they possess and use these to earn a living. The company has embraced an organisational culture, which enables these unique individuals to function as entrepreneurs within the corporate organisation. They are entrepreneurs, who work together as part of the team, to engage consumers and build brands, whilst at the same time building their own brands.
This is Zinto's greatest resource and one of their unique selling points which enables them to stand out from competitors because they believe in putting people first, then business. Staff members receive the educational skills and expertise to execute successful campaigns as well as the professional support and mentorship needed to engage with brands and consumers successfully.
Zinto employs many individuals who hail from new suburbs (townships) and are key contributors to the growth and success of the company; they are at the coalface laying down foundations while driving the industry forward.
Combrinck no longer talks about marketing but sees "a bigger picture" and carries a far larger concern of the future of this country and how corporates can play a role in developing the unemployed youth and how to get them off the street into employment.
For example, Zinto has given Eish-Hade, a group of three young shoemakers from Soweto, the skills needed to kick-start their own business. Since inception, investors have assisted them with the procurement of new machinery to increase production and with Combrinck's guidance they were able to develop their business skills and are on their way to becoming budding businessmen.
The partnership was mutually beneficial as Eish-Hade were also able to fill the gap in Zinto's range of branded apparel with a footwear offering and is an example of how the private sector can assist aspiring entrepreneurs.
South Africa has many social problems that need attention and Combrinck believes that with the right people, sponsored by the right brands, these initiatives can be a win-win for everyone.
As for the future, Zinto aims to take its successful business model of 'intrapreneurship' throughout the African continent, ensuring significant opportunities for its clients' brands and the youth alike.
For more information, visit www.zinto.co.za
or contact Michelle Combrinck on 011 553 1000.