Commited to supporting ecconomic growth & transformation

Ethos is committed to supporting economic growth, meaningful Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment¹ (B-BBEE) in South Africa and the eradication of poverty and inequality. We do this by setting the strategic compass and vision to drive B-BBEE transformation activities and internal processes in order to monitor, maintain and achieve meaningful, sustainable and successful levels of compliance at Ethos.


Ethos strives to implement strategies that embrace the requirements and ‘spirit’ of B-BBEE, namely employing members of the designated groups, incorporating training and development initiatives – specifically the implementation of Learnerships and Bursaries to black female employees.

We believe that this combination of activities not only supports the South African economy, the government’s economic development policies and our broader stakeholders, but simply makes sound business sense, resulting in improved returns to our investors.

We embrace the premise of promoting and implementing ‘best in practice’ methodology to Ethos in terms of B-BBEE and firmly believe that our activities enhance social development and economic value.
Furthermore, the company is continually identifying suppliers and supports black-owned and black-women owned suppliers wherever possible.

B-BBEE Rating

Ethos is currently rated as a Level 2 contributor under the B-BBEE Codes of Good Practice. Should you require additional information regarding our B-BBEE rating please email

A key component of Ethos’ transformation journey is our commitment to hiring exceptional people and developing them across the private equity value chain.  Integral to this pursuit is our pledge to optimise opportunities for all our staff and embrace diversity in all its facets.

In 2016, Ethos became a corporate partner to Bain & Co in a South Africa-wide Gender Parity research project. 

In collaboration, we considered the hypothosis: Given that the foundational elements to ensure parity success appear to be in place in South Africa, we must ask the question: Why are so few women reaching senior leadership positions in South Africa?

More than 1,000 women and men were surveyed in JSE-listed and private organisations, spanning non-management positions through to board-of-directors level.  Bain & Co combined survey data with more than 50 one-on-one interviews and in-depth analyses with several leading South African organisations. 

The report presents current perceptions of gender equity in the South African workplace and the deterrents to success that women must confront daily to succeed. It also shares several practical recommendations that society, organisations and individuals can implement to shift the status quo. 

The South Africa survey was launched in May 2017 and can be found on Bain’s website:

As part of this project, we also surveyed Ethos’ entire staff complement in a ‘deep-dive’ analysis to gain meaningful insights into gender and other issues/opportunities of diversity within our firm. 

Subsequently, a comprehensive plan of initiatives, interventions and awareness programmes designed to have a positive impact on women in our organisation and on staff retention, training and development and business performance has been planned with implementation commencing August 2017.

We anticipate an annual partnership with Bain & Co on this and other Diversity projects and opportunities.

Diversity at Ethos

While we view diversity as encompassing many facets (gender, sexual orientation, economic, race, and religion, amongst others) for the coming period we intend to focus on gender and race as two primary measures within Ethos.

We are pleased to note that Ethos has a strong, sustained history of female representation across the Firm averaging 56% of total full-time employees over ten years.  However, it is important to note that women represent only just over 20% of our transactors as at December 2016.  We certainly aim to increase female representation within this and our leadership team over time.

Racial diversity at Ethos has shown a pleasing shift over the past 10 years; the transition has been steady, in line with team longevity dynamics typical of our sector.  Our data shows that over a ten-year period, white staff (as a proportion of total staff) have decreased by 23%.  Black staff have increased by 49%, Indian by 91% and coloured by 28%.  Over the same period, Ethos’ total staff complement has increased by 35%.  However, like gender, we need to better translate these broad successes into our transacting and Value Add teams where currently non-white employees account for 38%.

Pioneering the introduction of meaningful black ownership in our portfolio companies is a priority.  Ethos has significant depth of experience and expertise in structuring and creating value from such transactions.

Ethos is proud of the role we play in South Africa, enabling significant direct black ownership participation while delivering quality skills transfer to the empowerment groups we have partnered with.

The significant transfer of business skills that has taken place over the course of our participation in private equity BEE transactions is evidenced by companies where our black empowerment partners have advanced to become established business owners in their own right.

Seeking empowerment opportunities

Ethos BEE transactions support the national priority of promoting black ownership. Ethos has an on-going policy of proactively seeking investment opportunities involving sustainable material black ownership and participation.  We actively drive broader participation in portfolio companies because we believe that businesses with diversity are more valuable and more sustainable.

Landmark empowerment transactions

Since 1992, BEE transactions have accounted for over 45% of Ethos’ investments.

Over the past 12 years, Ethos has contributed to Enterprise Development initiatives that support the growth and development of small black owned businesses.  We have also made meaningful contributions to multiple organisations and charities as part of its transformation, social and ethics responsibility.

We are proud of the role we played in the establishment of Sphere Private Equity which is a successful black-owned investment firm in South Africa. Ethos’ relationship with Sphere includes representation on the Sphere Private Equity board of directors and Sphere Fund I investment committee. For more information, please visit their website on

The Hope Factory

Ethos also supports The Hope Factory, a Non-Profit organisation governed by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA).  See insert for more detail.

The Hope Factory has been instrumental in developing a sustainable business plan with a 100% black owned small business within Ethos’ supply chain. The programme provides financial assistance together with a platform for further training and mentorship. These initiatives are fundamental in assisting small business owners in achieving their full potential. 

Building our economy through high impact entrepreneurial development

Entrepreneurship is our passion, and we exist to grow people, to develop businesses and impact communities, through our unique mentorship model while adding value to our investors.

The Hope Factory NPC, founded in 2001, forms part of the nation Building Division at the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA).

Partner with us to build hope through entrepreneurship. A future where entrepreneurs can thrive is a better future for everyone!

For more information, please visit