Creating legacies in business and making sure it spans several generations is at the core of a partnership between two South African business giants that was cemented during a launch in Stellenbosch this past weekend. Ten entrepreneurs countrywide became owner drivers of their own trucks as part of a supply chain empowering initiative, established by Distell Ltd and the Masisizane Fund. The event marked the beginning of a partnership in which the Masisizane Fund financed the ten trucks. The Masisizane Fund provided the funding of more than R9 million in total for the purchase of the vehicles in support of Distell’s Owner Driver (OD) Programme and the Supply Chain Development Ecosystem established between the two partners. This initiative is motivated by a shared objective to contribute to entrepreneurialship in South Africa.For Aubrey Ngceba, life has changed for the better after he went from truck driver to being truck owner as a part of the programme. “I am living a great life – all thanks to Distell. My life has changed so much since I started at Distell as a general worker in 1982. When I became an owner, I thought they’d made a mistake with the money I got!”Ngceba expressed his gratitude for the business managers who patiently, explained the intricacies of running one’s own business. “We give them (the business managers) a hard time. We are ‘just drivers’- how must we know about such things as VAT, tax? It has been a long journey, but with good leaders, we will be on top.”Daya Pillay, Head of Distribution Centre of Excellence at Distell said: “Supporting SMEs and entrepreneurs is essential for the growth and sustainability of our economy. Through the work Distell does with their OD programme and the Masisizane Fund’s financial and non-financial support, we are aiding entrepreneurial development and job creation that brings more people into the mainstream economy, effectively creating a shared value ecosystem.” “At Distell, we pursue opportunities that drive the transformation agenda, promote diversity and foster innovation. We are proud of our Owner Driver Programme and the 113 owner drivers that we have. We truly believe that it is creating opportunities that shape a more sustainable future and in doing so makes a valuable contribution to our economy,” Pillay concluded. The Distell OD Programme, one of the oldest programmes of its kind in South Africa, was started in the late 1990s and aims to promote entrepreneurship by developing self-employed drivers who can provide an independent service. In this partnership, the Masisizane Fund and Distell teams will work together with the owners to improve their financial education, general business knowledge and provide the essential skills and support to ensure a sustainable and positive future. Zizipho Nyanga, the CEO of Masisizane Fund added: “Supporting the important SME sector is not just about financing and funding, but also about upliftment, up-skilling and sustainable long-term partnership and support,” said .The Masisizane Fund is an Old Mutual initiative established in 2007 as a non-profit funding company with a mandate to create employment, eradicate poverty and reduce inequality, while promoting economic growth and investor confidence. The fund is focused on financing, developing and supporting the SMME sector and plays a key role in the franchise, supply chain development and agri-business sectors.“It is on days like this, when we see the tangible impact of the work we do to create a legacy and enable positive futures, that makes all the challenges worthwhile,” Nyanga said.Nyanga said the partnership demonstrates commitment to the Economic Development Department (EDD) and is aligned with the recent agreement between Old Mutual and the department on supporting empowerment and employment.