Although South Africa is now classified as an upper middle-income country, it remains the third most inequitable country in the world. One factor is that economic opportunities are not well-distributed across different demographic groups. In partnership with one of our clients, a Pick ‘n Pay franchise, GroFin is helping to create a more equitable South Africa by promoting local entrepreneurs, local suppliers and local jobs.
Pick ‘n Pay is one of South Africa’s largest supermarket chains and thus, contrasts slightly with the traditional image of a GroFin small and growing business. However, when entrepreneur Leon Lange came to GroFin about a Pick ‘n Pay franchise, it was clear that the franchise’s model could have an empowering effect across local value chains. Leon’s dynamism, complemented by the sophisticated operations and strong brand of Pick ‘n Pay, have been so successful that GroFin financed the opening of Leon’s second Pick ‘n Pay in 2013.
From employing only 55 people in 2011, Leon has now expanded to employing 135 people across the two locations. His stores serve over 100,000 customers per month, many of them at the base of the pyramid. The stores provide access to an array of fast-moving consumer goods ( products and staple foods, mostly sourced from other local South African businesses.
As a result, over 300 local suppliers gain economic opportunities from the two franchises. Pick ‘n Pay works with Leon to ensure these suppliers represent a cross-sector of South Africans, thus better distributing economic opportunities. In addition to economic empowerment, Pick ‘n Pay embraces environmental responsibility. They were the first retailer in Africa to commit to sustainable seafood sourcing and are even collaborating with WWF and the Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative to ensure their procurement practices respect marine ecosystems. Although this initiative was pioneered by Pick ‘n Pay’s corporate headquarters, it is an initiative that GroFin is proud to see implemented by our client.
In Leon’s own words: “GroFin is different in that they not only apply creative and sensible financial solutions to my businesses—they also stayed involved with the business learning as I did and assisting with problem solving when necessary. They have according to me strong sensible systems balanced with a sensible approach to business.”