Empowerdex is an independent economic empowerment rating and research agency founded in 2001 by Vuyo Jack and Chia-Chao Wu. The company’s mission is to provide support to both the public and private sectors in accelerating broad-based black economic empowerment in South Africa, thereby helping to bridge the gap between the country’s first and second economies. Through our services, Empowerdex assists economic entities in the management of both systematic and company-specific economic empowerment opportunities and risks.
We have conducted BEE ratings since 2001 and completed over 6000 ratings of all sizes in all provinces. We are based throughout South Africa and have offices in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and Pretoria. Empowerdex were instrumental in Sector Charter Development – Tourism, AgriBEE and DWAF.
Empowerdex is the brainchild of its founders and directors, Vuyo Jack and Chia-Chao Wu. Though the first deals concluded in the name of black economic empowerment were announced as early as the 1990's, before Empowerdex came into being, there was no independent means of verifying or measuring BEE initiatives or progress in South Africa.
Jack and Wu, both qualified CA's from the University of the Witwatersrand, met as undergraduate students at Wits University, when they were selected to represent South Africa at an international leadership conference in Cyprus, sponsored by Coopers & Lybrand. It was then that the idea to one day start a business was born.
Before launching Empowerdex, Jack and Wu consulted with international credit rating agency Moodys, in London. From there, they developed Empowerdex's rating methodology, a pioneering concept at the time. Over the years, this methodology has been adapted to be in line with the dti's Strategy on Broad-Based BEE, the BEE Act and the draft Codes of Good Practice. Both Jack and Wu consulted to the dti on the first phase of the Codes of Good Practice and continue to advise the dti on the second phase of the Codes.
Vuyo Jack - Executive Chairman
Vuyo Jack grew up in Dube, Soweto where he toyed with the idea of becoming a film director, before a family friend in merchant banking changed his mind. He then decided to study accounting which he sees as a critical basis for informed economic decision-making, in the sense that it is the central measure of business performance. Since co-founding Empowerdex, Vuyo was appointed as a member of the dti's BEE Task Team in 2003 and has advised both government departments as well as various corporates on matters of BEE.
Vuyo has a weekly column in Sunday's Business Report on issues surrounding BEE. Click here to view his latest columns.
In addition to his role as Executive Chairman of Empowerdex, Vuyo lectures Financial Accounting at Wits on a part-time basis.
Chia-Chao Wu - Executive Deputy Chairman
Chia-Chao Wu is the son of Taiwanese entrepreneurs from whom he has inherited his entrepreneurial nature. After moving to South Africa in 1985, his parents started up a business in Lesotho, under the Apartheid regime. Chia-Chao says that his parents success in the face of adversity, helped to shape him in this youth.
In 2002, Chia-Chao steered Empowerdex into the sphere of BEE research with the release of South Africa's first empowerment-based survey, better known today as Empowerdex's Top Empowerment Companies survey, published in partnership with the Financial Mail. In 2003, Chia-Chao formed part of the Empowerdex consortium which analysed the progress of BEE within the ICT industry, on behalf of the Department of Communications. In 2004, Chia-Chao was appointed by the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism to support the Tourism Charter's Steering Committee in the development of the Tourism BEE Charter.
In addition to being a CA, Chia-Chao is a qualified Chartered Financial Analyst, with Honours degree in Finance as well as a Masters degree in Commerce. Chia-Chao spent four years lecturing Finance and Investment at post-graduate level at Wits on a part-time basis, whilst completing his articles.