Spotlight on South Africa

Industry, employees and local communities

Investing in the next generation of South African talent

We are proud of our South African roots and are committed to the continued growth and success of this country. With Naspers Labs and Naspers Foundry, we are bringing this commitment to life through two initiatives focused on helping and investing in the next generation of South African talent.

Investing in the future

At Naspers, we aim to create value by improving lives. We don’t just do this by investing in technologies, entrepreneurs and businesses that address big societal needs.

We also seek to improve lives through social investment that makes a real difference to the communities we live and work in around the world.

For us, investing in local entrepreneurs and investing in local communities are two sides of the same core story of improvement.

In South Africa, we are pioneering Naspers Labs and Naspers Foundry – two complementary initiatives that together are focused on helping current and future generations of young South African talent achieve their true potential and, in so doing, transform the country for the better.

Naspers Labs

Empowering the young people of South Africa

Through Naspers Labs we are zeroing in on youth unemployment, a systemic and growing challenge that we are determined to help address.

Building on our expertise and experience in technology-enabled learning and development businesses such as Udemy and Brainly, and partnering with local expertise in the youth development sector, our ambition is to tackle the problem at scale and be a driving force behind transforming the lives of millions of unemployed young South Africans.

The three pillars of Naspers Labs that trigger this youth transformation are firstly, personalised learning through an adaptive online learning and development platform that includes hard and soft skills.

Two complimentary initiatives

Naspers Labs

Developing the next generation of South African talent

Naspers Labs is our long-term investment strategy in human capital development. Our flagship social impact project blends physical space and a bespoke online platform that strikes at the heart of communities most affected by unemployment and poverty.

  • An innovative project with a mission to be a driving force behind increasing access to economic opportunity.
  • Ambition to help millions of young South Africans living in low-income peri-urban areas of South Africa into meaningful opportunities.
Naspers Foundry

Developing the next generation of South African businesses

Our startup initiative focuses on helping talented and ambitious South African tech entrepreneurs develop and grow businesses that improve people’s lives.

Secondly, is peer-to-peer youth cafés using the unique locally developed socio-economic model that has been tried and tested by social enterprise and project partner RLabs.

And thirdly, our project unlocks the potential of township economies by supporting and incubating new micro- and small businesses to absorb young people into dignified employment.

With Naspers Labs, young people go on a structured three-stage journey. It starts with enabling them to believe in their potential, unlocking their hopes and dreams.

This is the essential foundation for them focusing on personalised training and learning modules to create the future they want. This in turn leads to the third stage where we prepare them for the world of work and secure their first work opportunity.

Their first job is the first step for Naspers Labs graduates who are motivated and stay in the programme to keep learning so they may achieve their goals.

Vitally, Naspers Labs cafés are in communities where unemployed young people live – spaces where dedicated Naspers Labs ambassadors help them make the most of the programme and digital platform. It is this unique blend of the best of technology with the best of human potential that unlocks the full potential of young people.

This year we piloted the project in two impoverished communities, with encouraging results.

Next year we are testing two further labs. Subject to the results of the pilot labs, our aspiration is to roll out the project to low-income peri-urban areas of South Africa, starting in priority provinces.

Naspers Labs

Traditional jobs Entry-level jobs pipeline Innovation and enterprise Growing youth-owned small and micro enterprises Information and communication technology ICT-related industries Graduates have a defined path into the economy Graduates have a defined path into the economy Traditional jobs Entry level jobs pipeline Innovation and enterprise Growing youth-owned small and micro enterprises Information and communication technology ICT-related industries

Find out more about Naspers Labs

Naspers Foundry


Backing talented and ambitious South African tech entrepreneurs

Over the next three years, Naspers Foundry will invest R1.4bn to help talented and ambitious South African tech entrepreneurs develop and grow their startup businesses.

Naspers Foundry will strengthen and encourage the South African tech ecosystem and will seek to invest in tech startups, focussing on those that address big societal needs: unemployment, education, safety and security, and economic resilience among others.

Naspers Foundry fully aligns with our groupwide approach to backing and growing great entrepreneurs and businesses around the world. So we are looking to back South African entrepreneurs with unique insights into their local communities.

At Naspers we believe that when we invest in an entrepreneur, we are able to bring much more to the table than funding. Through the Naspers group network, international expertise will be on hand to help startups accelerate their growth. The aim is to provide long-term help and support to encourage and nurture the future stars of the South African tech ecosystem.

We are focusing on creating businesses that have a positive impact on the communities they serve, the local economy and, ultimately, South Africa at large, prioritising broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE).

In June 2019, Naspers Foundry announced its first investment, investing R30m into SweepSouth, an innovative new business co-founded by Aisha Pandor and Alen Ribic.

We want to build South African businesses that empower people and address big societal needs in the country.

We aim to bring the scale and expertise of Naspers to bear on the businesses we back, helping them grow and expand beyond their local market, across Africa and beyond.

All the workers, predominantly single mothers with dependants, are interviewed by SweepSouth before they start using the platform. SweepSouth aims to launch similar services in Kenya, Botswana, Nigeria and Ghana. It’s a great Naspers Foundry-backed success story in the making

Naspers Foundry

  • Encouraging the South African startup ecosystem
  • Supporting tech startups that address big societal needs
  • Building the tech businesses of the future
  • Stimulating local economics
  • Creating jobs and opportunities for South Africans

Our gravest and most pressing challenge is youth unemployment. It is therefore a matter of great urgency that we draw young people in far greater numbers into productive economic activity.

President Cyril Ramaphosa
March 2019

27%

over 6 million of South African 18 to 24-year-olds are unemployed

With Naspers Labs, young people can come and learn skills that they didn’t think they would learn. They should be learning about virtual reality, they should be learning to code – they should literally be designing the future. They innovate out of necessity, so if they go into the workforce with the same determination and the same ability to innovate – imagine what they’ll do.

Allan van der Muelen
Naspers Labs

Technology innovation is transforming the world. The Naspers Foundry aims to encourage and back South African entrepreneurs to create businesses that ensure South Africa benefits from this technology innovation. The Naspers group started in South Africa and understand the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of South Africans. We believe the best ideas often start locally, with passionate entrepreneurs starting businesses that meet the needs of the communities they know best. And when those needs are universal across the markets we know well, with the right backing, there is the potential for their businesses to grow beyond their home markets.