Cultivating purpose-driven leaders

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The Value Creation Forum, hosted by IIE-Vega Cape Town and the Shared Value Africa Initiative (SVAI), showcased the power of purpose-driven entrepreneurship in fostering sustainable societies. Industry leaders and upcoming talents deliberated on the crucial role of effective branding, inclusive growth, and collective efforts in building resilient, value-focused brands and a sustainable future for Africa.

On 8 June, IIE-Vega Cape Town and the Shared Value Africa Initiative (SVAI) hosted a Value Creation Forum, where established business leaders as well as emerging leaders came together to reflect on contributing to a sustainable society and creating value for all.

Branding and marketing play crucial roles in supporting a purpose-driven brand. By effectively communicating the brand’s mission, values, and social impact, they can inspire and engage consumers, employees, and stakeholders alike.

Through compelling storytelling and visual identity, branding creates a unique and recognizable image for the brand, fostering trust and loyalty. Marketing strategies can amplify the brand’s purpose by crafting targeted messages, engaging social media campaigns, and partnerships with like-minded organisations.

These efforts not only raise awareness but also generate positive associations, differentiate the brand from competitors, and attract a passionate community of supporters. Ultimately, effective branding and marketing empower purpose-driven brands to make a meaningful impact and create a better world.

Part of the Shift Impact Africa Group, the SVAI raises awareness and advocates for business to use create shared value (where business can profitably address challenges faced by society and the environment) and demonstrates how the power of this concept to drive Africa’s growth. When talking about the future, it’s important to include future leaders, which is why this event was co-hosted with IIE-Vega.

Facilitated by IIE-Vega alum, Kwena Semenya, who is currently Strategist at M&C Saatchi Abel and an up-and-coming champion for value creation from an industry perspective, the event was an opportunity to demonstrate what Africa’s future could look like if all business united for greater collective impact and supporting youth and entrepreneurs as part of this effort as well.

Henry Mathys, Senior Manager Social Impact at V&A Waterfront took the audience on an enthralling journey of the V&A’s ecosystem of small businesses – from buskers to suppliers – and their contribution to the precinct’s culture and success, and how they in turn are supported as key stakeholders.

Eric Leong Son is Acting Head of Sustainability at Heineken Beverages which focuses on four key pillars: reducing carbon emissions, promoting responsible consumption, safeguarding water resources, and championing inclusive growth. It’s through the inclusive growth pillar that they foster partnerships for positive societal impact, while advocating for moderation and awareness of alcohol-related issues in society.

As the conversation progressed, the speakers were able to not only refer to the topic itself, but also some insights based on their own experiences as professionals committed to purpose and successes and challenges of this journey and effort.

Karen Lowe, CEO of 4 Day Week South Africa, delved into the future of work and the benefits of a 4-day week for both employers and employees when it comes to productivity as well as work-life balance. This raised awareness that purpose and value creation should also be considered from an employer perspective, and how they can and should be creating a holistically enabling environment for their staff.

Elspeth Boynton, Co-Founder and CEO of diiVe, whose work builds skills of graduates through an experiential programme that focuses on consulting and data science training, provided tips for the audience on entering the workforce and balancing the roles of being effective while staying true to oneself in such an environments.

Dimitri Syrris is Founder and CEO of Baotree which leverages the power of data for social impact and environmental sustainability, using advanced technology and ethical data collection practices, helping organisations make informed decisions and drive positive change. As an entrepreneur with a background in marketing, Dimitri led the emerging leaders’ panel where Vega’s postgraduate students shared their insights on creating shared value and the need for profit with purpose – and even their own perspectives on how brands are (aren’t delivering on their purpose intentions).

Overall, this was an event to connect current business and industry leaders, talking about their purpose and impact, alongside future leaders – and allowing for the latter to share their insights and expectations of brands operating on both local and global levels. This gave both speakers and students attending an opportunity to reflect on their role in being part of a collective that will create better value for society through purpose-driven businesses, thus creating strong, sustainable brands.

In line with SVAI and Vega’s combined objectives of cultivating future leaders on the African continent, and as part of a long-standing partnership, it was a successful event and the discussions continued during the networking session as well – giving students a platform to voice their perspectives on what it would take to build a sustainable Africa.