The Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) programme was set up to enhance the economic participation of black South Africans in the country’s economy. To comply with the legislative framework of the B-BBEE, private companies such as AQS must spend a percentage of their annual net profit on enterprise and supplier development. AQS looked in-house for its contribution to the programme. “We decided to support those already working for AQS and we have helped the ten women who cook, clean and serve tea to set up their own company, which is called Canteen Girls,” says Diana Prinsloo, CFO at AQS and mentor to the women involved in the programme.
Besides supporting the establishment of the company, Diana has helped set up routines for procurement and pricing to make sure the business makes money. AQS has also sponsored Canteen Girls to pay for all of the equipment needed to run the business, such as washing machines, cooking utensils and cleaning gear. “When we moved to new premises in a complex with other businesses in 2019, we saw the opportunity for Canteen Girls to sell their food to other people as well. Our goal is to have a food trailer up and running by the beginning of 2021,” says Diana. She adds that the women working at Canteen Girls are still employed by AQS, “But the aim is to help them build a business that can sustain them and their families, and that can create jobs for other