The Unlimited, a direct marketing financial services firm, continues to enjoy double-digit, year-on-year growth, even in a down economy that is expected to grow only 0.7% this year. The company attributes this success to its focus on serving a market neglected by mainstream financial services companies, as well as an innovative culture that aims to unlock the potential of South Africa’s youth.
Found in 1994 with a team of just five, The Unlimited has today grown into a company with around 1400 people. It has supported many of them to develop businesses of their own, giving them control over their lives, nurturing prosperity, and creating jobs for their communities.
Says Andrew Wood, chief executive officer at The Unlimited: “From the outset, the plan to was to build a different sort of company in The Unlimited: one with an innovative culture, an offering that makes a difference for the many South Africans excluded from many formal financial services products, and one that seeks to be a force for good in the country. Taken together, these are the elements of our sustainable growth.”
The Unlimited set out with a goal of building a business where creative, entrepreneurial and dedicated young people can thrive. In a country with more than 50% youth unemployment and a lack of good jobs for school leavers with no tertiary education, The Unlimited offers real opportunities for people who are hungry to make their mark.
“Not only do we offer young people without tertiary qualifications entry into the world of work, we also help them fast-track their careers,” says Wood. In most industries,” it takes years to prove yourself. We offer young people with a great attitude a way to rapidly advance. Our offices are highly stimulating and dynamic environments where people thrive – as do their careers.”
It’s not only the career opportunities that motivate The Unlimited team; they know they are bringing people products that they need but thought they couldn’t afford, says Wood. More than 40 million South Africans lack access to private medical care because medical cover is too expensive, for example.
“Most South African’s don’t have financial advisors and they don’t know how to access products such as short-term insurance or emergency medical evacuation services. Our people are often their first exposure to cost-effective financial service products and we have seen how these have made a massive difference in our customer’s lives,” Wood says