Due to the fact that there is such a 'buzz' about Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) in business circles - a result of forthcoming legislation to ensure that companies comply, as well as all the hype about the recent BEE Charters that have been instituted by high profile industries such as Mining and Financial Services - I get asked all the time by smaller businesses: 'but what can we do?'. There are so many misconceptions about BEE and very little information available to less high profile industry sectors and SMMEs/SMEs. The best is to start on the website of the Department of Trade & Industry (DTI - www.dti.gov.za
- where the BEE Scorecard is profiled. Any company can use it to measure their empowerment progress. It is also very important to remember that true empowerment starts from within, and is not only about racial diversification of the workplace, but about having an equitable representation of society, including women and disabled persons. It is also not about 'buying' in a black partner for 'window dressing', but about growing skills from within, training up existing employees, getting involved in the learnership programmes through your SETA, and giving back to the community you serve through social responsibility investment (SRI).