SA’s biggest advertising agency will this month begin the first phase of the programme with the intake of five startup companies to be mentored and supported with administrative, financial and infrastructural backing.

TCC co-CEO Ran Neu-Ner says businesses selected to participate in the programme would be mentored “for as long as it takes them to evolve into real, fully functioning businesses; we may even continue to grow them indefinitely”.

Neu-Ner and his partner co-CEO Gil Oved say transformation in the industry will never be fully achieved if it continues the practice of fronting and doesn’t focus on building sustainable black-owned businesses, which is why the pair has decided to start an incubator.

“We believe successful black-owned businesses are the true measure of transformation. For as long as the advertising industry continues to find sophisticated methods of fronting and recycling the few black managers in the industry, economic transformation will not be achieved. At TCC we hope to confront and hopefully eradicate this practice and foster true economic empowerment in the industry,” says Neu-Ner.

“Getting our black friends to pitch for businesses so we tick the black supplier box does not aid in redressing the economic imbalance. Putting black CEO’s in white-owned businesses is not the answer either.”

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While there are a growing number of small agencies popping up, many of them fizzle out within two years because they lack business management experience, Oved says.

This is why he believes that mentorship is the only way to ensure that “fledgling companies are given the best chance to succeed”.

“The industry needs to invest in supporting black entrepreneurs in the industry establish their business and transfer skills,” he adds.

Last year French advertising group Publicis acquired TCC in a deal that is estimated to be worth R1,5 billion.

Applications for the incubator programme for black-owned businesses in the media, marketing, digital, mobile and activations space have opened. TCC are looking for businesses that are showing positive turnover of under R20 million.

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