Fixing the world’s problems with sustainable business models instead of charity has many benefits, including job creation and generating additional tax revenue.
This is the view of Montegray founder and former FNB CEO Michael Jordaan who responded to questions from MyBroadband.
There is currently a big charity drive in society, and Jordaan said making charitable donations of your time or money is an inherently good thing to do. There are, however, degrees of charity.
“The best form of charity is to help someone with a loan, partnership, or employment so that the person will not need to be dependent on others,” Jordaan said.
“A Jewish principle says there are eight levels of charity. The worst form is to give unwillingly. There is wisdom in this.”
Business before charity
Jordaan said the world has major challenges, ranging from global warming caused by greenhouse gasses to (particularly plastic) pollution, overpopulation, and inadequate education.
“Most of these big problems are global in nature. Individual nation-states cannot, on their own, solve these,” he said.
While charities can help to fight some of these problems, once the time or money is spent, their impact mostly fades.
There is a different way to approach this – the biggest problems in the world are also the biggest business opportunities.
“Someone is going to find a business solution to turn plastic waste into useful objects (maybe roads or houses or dam walls) and make a sustainable income while solving a pollution problem,” said Jordaan.
“Someone else will hopefully find a better way of educating kids, maybe by using affordable, fast 5G connectivity to link the best educational content to school in rural areas.”
If these problems can be fixed with a business model instead of a charitable model, the solutions become financially sustainable, create jobs, and generate additional tax income.
A new and disruptive way of thinking
Jordaan said the same logic applies to many of the smaller problems we see around us, for example:
- If Eskom faces ruin, we should consider new technologies such as solar generation and the businesses that can be built around this.
- If textbooks aren’t delivered to schools, consider an app-based business that gives access to the entire curriculum.
- If people cannot afford medical aid but do not want to be at the mercy of state hospitals, there are medical insurance businesses that can help.
“Starting a business that helps people or the earth will bring more meaning into your life. And if the business is successful, that pleasure will be more sustainable,” said Jordaan.