Simpiwe Somdyala, CEO of Amadlelo Agri, winner of Top Empowerment Award sends a strong message on behalf of rural development

Written by Topco Staff Writer


Simpiwe Somdyala is CEO and Director of Amadlelo Agri and tasked with the responsibility of leading and overseeing the growth and transformation of the company.

He led Amadlelo Agri to the finals in the SMME category at the annual Vision 2030 Awards for 2019 and in 2020 the company won the fast growth SMME award at the Top Empowerment virtual awards.

We caught up with Simpiwe and asked him what winning the award had meant for Amadlelo Agri.

“This award is a recognition that hard work does get rewarded. And importantly the award opens doors for funders to go into rural areas and invest so that despite the fact that they are remote, they can take their rightful place in the economy.”

For over 28 years Simpiwe has been working in development finance focusing on community development, entrepreneurship, and development, he also did finance to small, medium, and micro enterprises (SMMEs). He believes that rural development together with skills/education, will be the key drivers of inclusion growth and economic transformation in Africa.

“We see nurturing black talent as one of the pillars to building a prosperous future for agribusinesses”. – Simpiwe Somdyala

Simpiwe was instrumental in the establishment of AsgiSA Eastern Cape, an initiative that was responsible for transforming the rural agri landscape in the province prior to a merger which resulted in the formation of Eastern Cape Rural Development Agency.

Prior to joining Amadlelo he was Corporate Affairs General Manager at Old Mutual Limited a function that was responsible for Entrepreneurship and SMME Development, Transformation, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Stakeholder Relations.

Today Simpiwe sits on a number of boards/trusts including the Small Enterprise Foundation, the largest micro finance organisation in the country with over 200 000 clients, Old Mutual Management Incentive Trust, Ncera Macadamia Farming, Nombeko Development Partners and is also a member of the Nelson Mandela University Council.

The Amadlelo ownership structure is made up of four groups which are Tulsacap, Amadlelo milk producers investment company, Vuwa investments, and Amadlelo empowerment trust. The business is 72% majority black owned.

The company aims to build prosperous agribusinesses and benefit from exceptional operational capacity, extensive project management, proven skills development, and significant resources as investors.

Amadlelo is driven by highly successful and experienced commercial operators with the vision to invest capital, assets, and expertise over time into projects that uplift historically disadvantaged individuals (HDIs).

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