Generally, empowerment initiatives tend to benefit only a handful of recognised black organisations or individuals. This has led to a concentration of economic power among relatively few black businessmen and women. In only some instances have economic empowerment and wealth creation been extended to include previously disadvantaged individuals at grassroots level.
With this in mind, Imperial chose an innovative route to empower all its previously disadvantaged staff members.
In 1998 the Imperial Group established Ukhamba Holdings. Through a vehicle called Ukhamba Trust, Imperial's more than 15 000 previously disadvantaged employees were able to acquire a stake in Ukhamba Holdings and share in the wealth it creates.
In March 2004 Imperial concluded a transaction with Ukhamba Holdings, through which Ukhamba acquired a stake of 10,1% in Imperial.