For the past 22 years, the first Saturday of July has been celebrated as The United Nations’ International Day of Co-operatives. Reasons for celebrating this significant day are to increase awareness of co-operative enterprises in general, to focus on the goals and objectives of the co-operative movement and to strengthen partnerships between the international co-operative movement and other stakeholders.
Each year the International Co-operative Alliance, together with the United Nations, selects a theme for the International Day of Co-operatives. This year’s theme was sustainable consumption and production of goods and services. This gives co-operatives the opportunity to show how they run successful businesses whilst respecting the natural environment and the resources it offers. Financial co-operatives contribute to stability thanks to their proximity to their clients and the fact that they provide financial access at local level, including the previously under-served and unserved markets.
As a proud financial services co-operative, Iemas notes that this year’s theme also tied in with President Cyril Ramaphosa’s recent comments during SONA (State of the Nation Address) 2018 where he highlighted the important role that co-operatives must play in the sustainable development of South African communities.
Through the Department of Trade and Industry’s (the dti) integrated strategy on the development and promotion of co-operatives 2012-2022, government aims to move towards a growing, self-sustainable and integrated co-operative sector, supported by all stakeholders, contributing to economic growth, poverty reduction and employment creation, as well as assisting in bringing about economic transformation and an equitable society in South Africa.
As the largest financial co-operative in South Africa, Iemas supports this year’s International Day of Co-operatives theme by celebrating its unique business model of bringing its comprehensive financial products and services to the employees of more than 600 employers, which it has contractual agreements with.
Iemas provides on-site support at these employers whereby it brings its comprehensive financial products and services portfolio to the employees through worksite marketing, regular service point actions and free financial wellness training workshops aimed at contributing to the holistic financial wellness of all employees.
“Iemas’ business model allows us to contribute to the sustainability of various communities, even those situated in remote and previously under-served areas in that we bring financial solutions to the employee’s place of work and members annually share in the co-operative’s profits through the member benefit payment,” says CEO Johan Nel. When an individual purchases an Iemas product, they become a member of the co-operative. Thus, along with the many product benefits of being an Iemas member, they also get to share in the profits through the annual member benefit payment based on the products purchased during the year.
“We believe that our business model, annual member benefit allocations and the free financial wellness training workshops we offer at the employee’s place of work, significantly contribute to the financial wellbeing and upliftment of our members, which has a ripple effect on the communities in which they work and live” concludes Nel.
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- The ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ of a financial services co-operative
- The financial industry has to become more inclusive of the female market
- Iemas celebrates International Day of Co-operatives