21 years ago, in as new democracy, we launched Topco with the aim of giving the best South African companies the market exposure they deserved. Everywhere we looked, we saw organisations, and their leaders, rallying to the needs of empowerment, skills development, job creation and sustainability, while also raising the benchmark in terms of performance.
A message from the founder and former CEO
Profiling a country in Transformation
By contrast,I saw nothing but incredible opportunities – a repressive establishment was falling and a lot of international businesses and governments were now willing to show support for a new democratic South African government under President Nelson Mandela.
It was my belief, were I also to throw my lot and that of my family into this new South Africa, in the form of a new publishing company – Topco – that it could, and would succeed. And that proved to be the case.
We had a frank and memorable conversation in which he asked, would I publish a directory of the top black companies?
I did some research, as I wanted a name that would reflect both Africa and the African firms that had made major advancements in business, and came up with the name Impumelelo, which is the Xhosa and Zulu name for success.
President Nelson Mandela gave us a wonderful letter of support and, from that base, we began to publish an annual publication that has since highlighted black businesses and business leaders for 20 years,
We were the first organisation to hold a BEE summit, which to this day holds the record for the largest number of attendees. We went on to create the Oliver national business empowerment awards, today the Top Empowerment Awards.
Looking back from 2017, I’m proud of the showcase we’ve given empowerment, from print to stage and conference.
I’m also proud of the decision my family took, back in the 1990s, to follow our instincts and our faith in the future of South Africa.”
TopCo founder and former CEO Richard Fletcher – on the rise of a remarkable empowerment platform.
TOP EMPOWERMENT NEWS
Empowering each other with Top Information.
In an article published in the Daily Dispatch on 16 May 2016, it emerged that less than a quarter of all Chartered Accountants (CAs) in South Africa were black. However, on the plus side there has been a substantial increase since 2002. There are now around 9 764...read more
There is a significant shortage of doctors in South Africa. The country currently has a total of six doctors per 10 000 people, versus the global average of 15. However, about half the doctors registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) are...read more
It’s still a struggle to do business as a black person with both the private sector and the government, says Ntokozo Ntuli. She isn’t alone, says black business groups. Ntuli, who runs Durban-based interior design business N2 Design Box, says she often has to battle...read more
According to figures obtained from the National Society of Black Engineers in 2013, black engineers comprise only 14% of South Africa’s professional engineers, while women comprise only 3% of the country’s professional engineers. Among the number of candidates for...read more
We chat to our winners and sponsors at the 2017 Oliver Top Empowerment Awards at Birchwood Hotel and OR Tambo Conference Centre in Boksburg, Johannesburg. Click the video below to watch.read more
Phethiwe Matutu grew up in a small village called Mqanduli in the former Transkei and is one of nine children of trader parents. Today she is one of the country’s pioneering scientists, with a Doctorate in Mathematics among her qualifications. She attributes much of...read more
The Sophia Town-themed 16th Oliver Top Empowerment Awards came alive in the Birchwood Hotel and OR Tambo Conference Centre in Johannesburg on 30 March 2017. With vibrant and authentic decor, along with top-class entertainment, delegates’ senses were tantalised in this...read more
With renowned anti-Apartheid activist, lawyer and former ANC treasurer-general Dr Mathews Phosa gracing our 2017 cover, there was a significant level of anticipation leading up to the launch of the 17th edition of the Impumelelo Top Empowerment Companies publication...read more
Transformation in the professions in South Africa remains a challenge. Looking at key professions, a picture emerges of notable progress in the last decade or so, but also of much work still to be done. When she ended her term as South Africa’s Public Protector in...read more
On 27 September 2007, Nelson Mandela officially opened one of the biggest shopping centres in South Africa, Maponya Mall, in Soweto. The R650-million centre – which houses more than 200 stores and boasts a cinema complex – was the realisation of a lifelong dream. This...read more