BBF Safety Group (BBF) is the largest manufacturer of safety footwear in Southern Africa, boasting some of the industry’s most respected brands, including Bova, Bronx Safety, Frams, Fuel, Inyati, Lemaitre, Sisi, and Wayne. As part of their BBBEE programmes, they contribute to a number of socio-economic development initiatives on an annual basis. Vanessa Ronald, BBF Senior Brand Manager explains, “We feel privileged as a company to be in a position where we are able to partake in Socio-economic Development projects and credit this to the hard work and efforts of our collective workforce. For us, it is the opportunity to make a difference within our community and positively contribute to the lives of the people within it.”
This year’s project?
Lending a helping hand to Durban High School (DHS), one of Durban’s oldest and most respected educational institutions, celebrating 150 years of education this year. As a proudly South African company, BBF strives to support worthy causes and organisations that will better South Africa and its people. And what better cause than education? BBF CEO Silvio Ceriani states “We believe in the potential of South Africa; we believe in the ability of its people and we absolutely believe in the power of education for the sustainable growth of our economy and stability of our society.”
“When it comes to our socio-economic development budget, we look long and hard at how we can best make a difference through the required spend and select partners that we believe will not only benefit from the contribution but will take advantage of the opportunities that arise from it,” explains Ronald.
Priding itself on a strong community service ethic, DHS is one of the most transformed schools in KZN with a current demographic that is a true reflection of our multi-cultural society. It has an illustrious history of producing top sportsmen, judges, Nobel scientists, politicians, musicians and the highest number of business leaders out of any high school in South Africa. Yet, despite its reputation, the school has faced a number of financial challenges over the past few years during its demographic transformation. Approximately 100 scholars are on unfunded scholarships, and a further 50 are on fee remissions, while the School Governing Body is responsible for the salaries of 56 staff members. And, as the school is well-known for its sporting focus in developing well rounded “men of character”, maintaining sporting facilities and attracting quality coaching staff place extra strain on the school’s financial burden.
What is BBF’s plan?
For 2016, BBF spent time with the DHS team understanding the challenges that the school faces and compiled a proposal that would assist them in creating a sustainable model for their fund-raising initiatives.
The proposal outlines marketing opportunities within the walls of DHS that can be used to generate income for the school in the years to come. Each suggestion comes with an advertising cost that relates to either a scholar’s monthly school fee or the fee of an educator. As Ronald points, out, “The great thing about this proposal is that while the school benefits, the company offering the sponsorship earns BBEEE points as the school’s demographic composition is more than 75% African, Indian and Coloured, which meets the BBEEE socio-economic development criteria. Bursaries are also recognised as Skills Development under the revised BEE Codes. Everybody wins.”
According to Headmaster Leon Erasmus, “With BBF’s assistance, we will be able to put in place a new model for fundraising going forward – a long-term solution where funds can be consistently allocated to teacher salaries as well as scholar fees, to ensure our boys continue to benefit from the quality education DHS is famous for.”
Proceeds from these initiatives will be used to support the school and fund bursaries for learners in need and BBF has already committed to purchasing the advertising space made available in the model for the first year. For Ceriani, “The character of the DHS man has certainly stood the test of time and on their 150th anniversary, we are honoured to wave our flag alongside theirs.”