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Investing for impact with South Africa’s youth

In today’s investment economy, strong returns are only meaningful when combined with making an impact

Since its launch in September 2018, Amplify Investment Partners has consistently outperformed its competitors and has grown its assets under management (AUM) by over 320%. It has done this on the back of focussing on longer term, meaningful returns – providing a purpose to save by investing in projects that include conservation, job creation and youth education.

“As well as generating returns, we know that investing needs to be done for a purpose. That’s why a portion of our profit is allocated to projects that make a real difference to the world around us, and we are committed to several conservation, youth employment, education and tourism initiatives,” says Richard Bray, head of strategy for Amplify Investment Partners.

With June’s focus on the youth of South Africa, a recent Stats SA report indicated that “South Africa’s youth continues to bear the burden of unemployment” – representing a staggering rate of unemployment of “63,9% for those aged 15-24 and 42,1% for those aged 25-34 years, while the current official national rate stands at 34,5%. Of the 10 million young people aged 15-24 years, only 2,5 million were in the labour force, either employed or unemployed.”

“While we remain focused on investing in rhino conservation projects, we acknowledge that one of the sources, or causes of poaching in the affected areas is a combination of low education, and little to no jobs,” Bray explains. “We see real value in tackling rhino poaching from both sides – supporting SANParks conservation and anti-poaching teams, but also focussing on education and job creation initiatives in the surrounding areas.”

One of the organisations that Amplify has partnered with to deliver on these objectives is the Good Work Foundation (GWF).

Founded by Kate Groch, GWF has established digital learning campuses in rural communities. It works on a “hub and satellite” model, filling the gaps that the formal schooling system cannot reach, in Hazyview – close to the Kruger Park where rhino poaching numbers are often at their highest despite conservation efforts.

GWF believes in a future where marginalised communities are confident participants of the fourth industrial revolution. They are agents of change, seamlessly plugged into local communities and global networks. They currently support 4990 learners, have seen 958 learners graduate, have 41 tablets on site and have 29 community educators. But they can’t do it without funding or partners like Amplify.

To date, Amplify has provided 13 grants to young community members via GWF, enabling them to grow real, tangible skills to pursue employment opportunities. This is in addition to the over R500 000 provided to the SANParks Environmental and Corporate Investigations unit to actively monitor, protect and secure our rhinos for future generations.

“Without them, the Good Work Foundation is an idea, and we are very clear that we don’t just want sponsors. We look to connect with people that we resonate with, like Amplify, to create a partnership and long-term impact,” says Groch. “Our goal is for each regional cluster of campuses to deliver wonder-filled 21st century learning opportunities to rural and marginalised communities. Each cluster will be 80% self-funded, 100% community-powered and 75% women-led.”

Amplify believes that education and the creation of employment opportunities will go a long way towards self-sufficiency for the youth in this area and shaping a better future for them.

“It also means our investors are making a tangible difference to the world around them, and that’s a sure way to start rethinking returns,” Bray concludes.

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