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Why industry transformation could be a game-changer for business

RE/MAX’s Amanda Cuba says she hopes her appointment inspires other industry players to commit to speeding up transformation – it’s good for business

Transformation is an area that has been slow-moving in the real estate sector in South Africa. This is one area that, if transformed, could easily provide a new balance in South Africa’s wealth distribution debacle. This is an area where, if one applies oneself and is consistent, one could make dreams come true.

Minimal upskilling is required and the number of individuals who could be part of the dream needn’t be limited. The real estate industry is structured in such a way that the more estate agents you have on the ground with the right training, the more you are able to push property sales. That opens up the business to tap into unchartered territory, which in this case is the township market.

My appointment to RE/MAX of Southern Africa has been inspired by the concept of changing the real estate industry. Within RE/MAX my focus has been on expanding the brand into the affordable housing market. I have been focusing primarily on creating a RE/MAX business footprint broadly in the townships. I want to drive change and the current perception that real estate is not easily accessible.

I believe that Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) ownership is important to any business; for RE/MAX the value that this brings to the business is unwavering. Beyond the financial transaction for ownership change, it is critical for the BEE partner to play an active role in the operations of the business. BEE allows for someone who has a different way of thinking to be part of steering the organisation towards its diversity goals. As the BEE incumbent one keeps transformation on the agenda and keeps it moving.

My role now is primarily to drive the transformation objectives of the RE/MAX group and to create opportunities for previously disadvantaged individuals who want to enter this industry. This can be achieved by opening up more franchises in townships, driven by passionate entrepreneurs who are in their own business for themselves, but not by themselves – they will be supported by a strong global brand.

RE/MAX of Southern Africa founder and chairman Peter Gilmour is a visionary man who anticipated and embraced the transformation agenda ahead of all other players in the real estate industry. With his vision, the conversations towards finding a BEE partner who aligned with the business values and overall direction began. This led to our transaction at the beginning of 2015. Within the real estate industry, I anticipate this bold step will ignite other big players to start driving their own transformation agenda in line with the demographics of this country.

Amanda Cuba is COO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa

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