Feb 20, 2016

BREAKING NEWS: FCB Africa now majority black-owned

February 19, 2016
FCB Africa has concluded a broad-based black economic empowerment deal with The Maharishi Institute that boosts the agency’s total black ownership to over 51% and increases its total black female ownership to over 31%. As of 1 December 2015, an BBBEE trust has been established into which 15% of FCB Africa’s shareholding has been sold and which will operate entirely independently of the agency.
FCB’s first BBBEE deal was concluded in 2003, when a consortium called Bourasque acquired 26% of the agency. At the time, shares were also awarded to black members of staff.
The institute is a division of the non-profit Maharishi Education for Invincibility Trust (IT 9927/07) and is a public benefit organisation. It provides financial access to the qualifications of its education partners, which students access via distance education, while gaining work experience. These have included, among others: Maharishi University of Management (USA), Regenesys Business School, Microsoft IT Academy, SAP programmes, and others.
Empower unemployed young women
A hundred percent of all profits made in respect of the trust shares, once they are paid off, will be used to empower unemployed young women (who will own an equity stake in the company) with a comprehensive career package that facilitates true lifelong empowerment, including access to university-level business degrees with a specialisation in advertising and digital marketing, industry-recognised vocational skills qualifications, full-time employment, personal development, soft skills training and ongoing hands-on coaching and mentorship.
This holistic approach, combined with a range of other support measures over a number of years, is meant to assist these women to become measurably successful in SA’s economy. The move is targeted to strengthen the long-term pipeline of new industry professionals.
In addition, outside of its ownership programme, FCB has committed to an additional financial investment to develop an industry-related curriculum in 2016, followed by a pilot programme in 2017 and 2018, which will be part of the industry preparation component. FCB invites other ad agencies and industry colleagues to join it in developing this pipeline for the industry.
Broad-based scheme
Comments Brett Morris, FCB Africa CEO, “This is an incredibly exciting step for us, and one that rounds off a very inclusive and broad-based approach to our economic empowerment initiatives. In addition to prominent business people and the staff ownership, we are proud to now include a broad-based scheme that will impact hundreds of young women over time and fill gaps that we see in the skills development pipeline for our industry.”
He continues, “Yes, I’m delighted that the deal means that FCB more than ticks all the boxes when it comes to the BEE scorecard. Yes, I’m thrilled that our new status — 51% black-owned and 32% black-female-owned — is a major advantage for our clients when it comes to filling in their own BEE scorecards. But I’m over the moon at the potential this deal could unleash over the years, and look forward to witnessing the impact the graduates will have on South Africa’s economy as they succeed in the workforce as empowered, skilled and well-educated citizens.”
Explains Taddy Blecher, Maharishi Institute CEO and co-founder, “[W]e wanted to provide a supportive environment to ensure that our students, who come out of South Africa’s high schools in great need of work experience to make them highly employable, are supported step by step in order to achieve a life of success and achievement. We are delighted to partner with FCB Africa, whose passion and vision for our country mirrors our own.”
“Exponential benefit over time”
FCB Worldwide CEO, Carter Murray, added: “We’re all particularly pleased that partnering with the Institute in this way will have an exponential benefit over time. Particularly as, given the realities of South Africa, assisting one woman usually provides assistance to many others who rely on her for support, so the impact will be far-reaching,” he said.

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