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In 2007 Mondi South Africa established Mondi Zimele, a 100% Mondi Limited owned subsidiary, with the aim of accelerating and facilitating sustainable black economic empowerment in the value chains of their operations. Particular emphasis was to be placed on small and medium sized businesses.

The concept for Mondi Zimele was modeled on Anglo American’s innovative and successful approach to enterprise development and entrepreneurship in South Africa, Anglo American Zimele.

In 2011, Mondi Zimele expanded its focus to incorporate support for community based small businesses around Mondi’s operations, which businesses were not necessarily forestry-related. Mondi Zimele’s offering now includes forestry development support to emerging land owners and small growers.

In 2012, Mondi Zimele formed a new fund with the Development Bank of South Africa, known as the Mondi Zimele Jobs Fund, which aims to promote job creation and economic development in Mondi’s surrounding communities through the support of emerging small business.

In 2016, Mondi Zimele partnered with the Department of Trade and Industry in establishing a Forestry Contractor Incubator, known as Mondi Forests Partners Program. The incubator provides business development support to emerging forestry contractors in the Mondi value chain, with a specific focus on productivity and profitability improvements.

The word Zimele is derived from the African languages Zulu and Xhosa and is translated as “to be independent” or “to stand on one’s own feet”.
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