South African software technology company BBD takes transformation seriously, not just to assist with economic growth and development, but to change lives while improving ICT skills and contributing to job creation.
Their recent level 2 broad-based black economic empowerment rating is evidence of this. CEO Peter Searle believes BBD is playing a significant role in bridging the digital divide in South Africa. “We value each of our employees and strive to foster an inclusive and multi-faceted culture. Our business and transformation strategies work hand-in-hand to allow for a true alignment of realities.”
In early 2016 BBD concluded a deal with Sphere Holdings, who raised their ownership stake to 49.9%. Together with the 1.1% held by education charity Student Sponsorship Programme, this makes BBD 51% black-owned and provides them with a formidable new competitive advantage – while assisting their clients to meet local procurement and transformation targets.
Searle explains how he believes transformation needs to be a genuine initiative and at BBD this is the case. “We drive upliftment through education, by broadening the skills base and ensuring more South Africans – who have the potential but not the means – are able to have access to the right education.”
This thinking is reiterated by BBD transformation executive Precious Nkomo, who emphasises how transformation without economic growth would be unsustainable. “Part of the BBD way of working is fruitful partnerships to assist in nurturing software development talent in the underprivileged.”
She adds that currently BBD is supporting 50 graduate learners through WeThinkCode_, a revolutionary tech-based learning institution dedicated to eliminating South Africa’s IT skills gap. “Partnering with WeThinkCode_ provides BBD with access to a pool of IT resources not previously available. These graduates are able to step into graduate level positions at BBD and thrive. The company has also formed a partnership with GirlCode, to empower women in technology, while showcasing the many exciting IT careers available.”
A B-BBEE transformation unit drives BBD’s requirement for the entire group, ensuring employee interests and the culture of the business are not compromised, while working towards remaining compliant.
Searle concludes that BBD’s drive to uplift South Africa through education is an integral element of the company’s DNA, providing the underprivileged with access to technology and technical learning.