Global Award for SA Initiative?

Radical disruption to gainful employment and transformative education

A unique South African partnership paves the way globally

Johannesburg, 25 April 2017: A scalable disruptive business model, bold innovation and a commitment to ensure the long-term development of communities underpin the shortlisting of the South African Columba Leadership / M4JAM partnership in the UK’s longest running and most prestigious awards programme, championing responsible business in the UK and abroad.

This local partnership has arisen out of the context of the most unequal society in the world, with youth unemployment close to 60% and more than 20 million sub-25 year olds. Andy Payne, Chairman of M4JAM, comments that “micro-jobbing and micro-training using mobile technology will do to traditional employment and education what Uber has done to transport. Our partnership will enable us to become the biggest employer of youth in the country in 5 years.”

The Columba / M4JAM partnership has been shortlisted for the Unilever Global Development Award, supported by Business Fights Poverty, for their work being done to create sustainable economic freedom for the youth of South Africa.

Young people from underserved communities have little hope of becoming successful entrepreneurs. While they have gleaned many of the key competencies of social entrepreneurship through essential life experience, the education system – designed for mass production of the Industrial Era – needs considerably more action-oriented learning to enable positive transformation. As a country, we need to drastically open new pools of talent for enterprise, regretfully all too often excluded now.

Ethical leadership, sustained employment and responsible capitalism in an inclusive economy have arguably never before been as important as they are now. While the need is universal and pervasive, South Africa’s current crisis demands a relevant response.

Micro-jobbing platform, M4JAM (Money for Jam), and youth leadership programme, Columba Leadership, partnered in 2016 to help address their mutual visions of youth empowerment, employment and skills development. Columba uses experiential learning of the ethical values of responsible leadership combined with participation in projects to improve communities to develop the character, purpose and competence that helps young people to succeed in academic and work life. M4JAM, focused on providing a platform as relevant as possible, offers a unique way to address unemployment through a substantial network of actively engaged jobbers.

“We don’t believe the formal sector is going to provide the levels of employment we need to effectively address unemployment in this country,” says Rob Taylor, founding chairman of Columba. “M4JAM, being at the forefront of micro-jobbing, offers opportunities for our graduates to earn an income while studying and making a social contribution.”

Now in their 20th year, the Awards champion the most inspiring businesses who are making a difference by taking action to build more inclusive workplaces, stronger communities and tackle our biggest environmental challenges.

Today’s announcement coincides with Responsible Business Week (24-28 April), an annual initiative aimed at increasing awareness of the positive contribution of businesses to society.

Chief Executive of Business in the Community, Amanda Mackenzie, said: “We want all businesses to be a force for good in the community, and being shortlisted means that Columba and M4JAM can inspire many more organisations to be part of the responsible business movement, so that together we can work for a fairer society and a more sustainable future.”

The winners of all ten categories, including the Responsible Business of the Year, will be announced at the Responsible Business Gala Dinner at the Royal Albert Hall in London on 4 July, in front of 1 200 business leaders.


Media queries, contact Carl Ballot on or 083 463 4928

Columba Leadership (, M4JAM ( and this partnership, contact Rob Taylor on or 083 326 1004 or Andy Payne on

Business in the Community or the Responsible Business Awards contact Alex Delaney, +44 20 7566 8694 / +44 7766 161419 or e-mail

The Awards visit and follow @BITC on Twitter #BITCawards.

Responsible Business Week 2017 visit or search for the hashtag #RBweek.


Columba Leadership

Founded in 2009, our mission is to build a national movement of ethical leaders for youth employment and enterprise, unlocking the future growth potential of South Africa and building a more equal society that we all want to live in.

We develop the character of young leaders in schools using ethical values. Supported by their educators and principal, they form teams with school friends and run action learning projects to fix challenges they face in their schools and communities. They all learn important skills like critical thinking, collaboration, communication and resilience, and introduce the spirit of enterprise into schools.

Young leaders become role models of active citizens and make a big contribution to improving discipline and learning in their schools. We train educators, cluster schools and align with education department processes so that schools maintain the impact after we have gone.


Our approach to solving traditional business challenges is the same as our approach to empowering the South African community – we take it one micro-job at a time. Since its launch in December 2014, M4JAM has issued thousands of jobs to its active jobber base that has grown to over 140 000 South Africans. Today it’s trusted by some of South Africa’s biggest brands to help them connect to the people that use their products and services every day. All while placing economic freedom in the hands of the communities that need it most.

Columba Leadership / M4JAM partnership

The partnership between Columba Leadership and M4JAM ( delivers a tech solution to provide real-time training and incentives to our graduates who will earn while delivering essential products and social service in under-resourced schools and communities. This is a low risk, low cost solution to establish a national network of social entrepreneurs.

We have several successfully run micro-entrepreneurship pilot projects. An example is 18 Columba Leadership alumni are half-way through training 2 000 learners in the Absa Ready-to-Work materials. The learners have commented on the power of being trained by young people who understand them and the trainers have enjoyed the experience of developing their skills and learning from the material they teach. Over one weekend at Blue Eagles School in Cosmo City, 380 learners and all trainers had 100% turnout on both Saturday and Sunday. This opens the possibility of expanding into 120 of our schools and beyond; a model for large scale. Trainers are measured and paid on the M4JAM platform and costs work out at a highly effective R230 per learner.

 Business in the Community

Business in the Community is the Prince’s Responsible Business Network. Our members work together to tackle a wide range of issues that are essential to building a fairer society and a more sustainable future.

We engage thousands of businesses through our programmes driven by our core membership of over 800 organisations from small enterprises to global corporations.

The Responsible Business Awards

Business in the Community’s Responsible Business Awards brings to life how businesses are creating innovative and sustainable solutions to our most pressing challenges, inspiring thousands of others to make a lasting difference and adding value back to their own business.

Now in its 20th year, the awards, rigorously assessed by independent business peers, are widely acknowledged as one of the most respected endorsements of responsible business in the UK and abroad. Open to companies of any size, sector or scale, a wide range of businesses enter, demonstrating the breadth and depth of responsible business.

Each year, over 250 business peers assess the entries, endorsement planters are used by companies to profile their achievement, inspiring thousands of people to be a motivated part of the Prince’s Responsible Business Network.

Headline sponsors of the 2017 Responsible Business Awards are Experian, Unilever, UPS, Aviva, Barclays, Fujistu, UBS and the Unipart Group.

 Responsible Business Week

Responsible Business Week (24-28 April 2017) is an annual campaign from the charity Business in the Community to champion responsible business.

It is all too easy to bash business, but we believe there’s another important story to be told. Behind every faceless corporation are real people, making a difference, improving society and changing lives through the business of doing business.

Responsible Business Week is a campaign to tell this story, raise the profile of the year-round contribution of businesses of all sizes and inspire more business to address the most pressing issues.

Through a wealth of free events, online debates and learning forums, the week is a platform for business to learn, share, celebrate and together build a better approach to responsible business for the future. By showing the brighter side to business, a side that the public rarely see, Responsible Business Week aims to motivate business to be better and do better, for the benefit of us all.