SA Taxi Foundation awards first of its annual university bursaries for students
SA Taxi is the country’s only independent financer of minibus taxies and is one of very few companies certified as a developmental credit provider.
SA Taxi Foundation, founded in 2014 as the corporate social investment arm for the SA Taxi group of companies, has made its first award of a bursary to a student from the rural and peri-urban communities served by SA Taxi’s customers.
“Inherently, SA Taxi is a gateway financer,” says SA Taxi Foundation director, Kalnisha Singh. “By providing vehicle finance as well as free business and driver training as part of our product set, we enable our customers to develop sustainable small businesses and, thereby, move into the mainstream economy.
“Our contribution to enterprise development is, therefore, significant. Even so, we felt the need to deepen our social impact by going beyond the demand / supply relationships that underlie our business as usual. As a result, we set up the Foundation to help address the intense poverty and limited access to the most basic needs that prevent most rural and peri-urban societies from feeling the positive effects of economic freedom.
“With one of the Foundation’s focus areas being education, it was logical for us to set up a bursary fund whose objective is to provide opportunities for students from rural and peri-urban communities to participate in the formal economy.”
The SA Taxi Foundation Bursary Fund prioritises applications for studies in those sectors identified by the SETAs as having a scarcity of skills. These include technical studies (engineering and artisanal trades), mainstream commerce (actuarial science, accounting, and finance), the sciences (medicine, chemistry), and business disciplines such as industrial psychology, human resources, and marketing.
Bursary recipients are required to achieve a minimum average of 65% in each semester funded by the bursary and must also undertake project work at SA Taxi during their vacations.
SA Taxi Foundation Bursary Fund’s first recipient, Ndumiso Mabena, is in the second year of his accounting diploma at the University of Johannesburg and has consistently achieved more than 75% for his semester averages.
During the July break he will help organise and also teach accountancy at SA Taxi Foundation’s Winter School aimed at helping matrics prepare for their final exams.
Mabena, who grew up in Mpumalanga but did his matric in Gauteng, says his parents encouraged him to study. His father, whose taxi operation is run by Mabena’s eldest brother, works for the Department of Transport and taught adult literacy in his spare time. His mother is a qualified Grade R teacher and is studying through Unisa for her teaching degree. “It was my father, who had done a Unisa course on managing small businesses, who suggested I do an accounting degree. He knows that I have an interest in business, having been exposed to it via one of my aunts, who worked with an Australian NGO to gain funding for orphanages, and also via my father’s taxi operation, which is named for me.
“While I enjoy accounting for its own sake, what really fascinates me is the way in which it enables a business to run efficiently and with maximum benefit to its stakeholders.”
Mabena plans to qualify as a chartered accountant and then to start his own business in either technology or film and television production.
The SA Taxi Foundation Bursary Fund will award at least one new bursary a year during the next five years, seeing each student through to his or final studies.