Growing the economy, one SME at a time

Image Supplied. Little Mermaids

The SAB Foundation Tholoana Enterprise Programme is looking for entrepreneurs who are passionate and dedicated to growing the economy and creating jobs.

With a shrinking economy and unemployment at an 11 year high, it is critical for local small, medium and micro-sized enterprises to step in and provide the fuel we need to fire up growth and create jobs in South Africa. As many as 80% of small businesses fail within their first five years. However, funding and business support can help aspiring entrepreneurs negotiate early hurdles to reach the point where they become profitable, job creating organisations.

“South Africa is full of young, inspired, and passionate entrepreneurs who are working tirelessly to change the path the country is on. We have found that, through the provision of funding as well as business training and mentorship, we can improve the success rate of businesses to over 75%,” says Bridgit Evans, SAB Foundation Director.

The SAB Foundation does this through a number of business development programmes including their flagship, Tholoana Enterprise Programme which, until 26 September 2019, is currently open for applications.

The structured 18-month programme invests in entrepreneurs, particularly women, youth, people in rural areas and persons with disabilities. It offers entrepreneurs skilled mentorship, business development tools and training, powerful peer networks, access to finance, and support throughout their time on the programme.

So far, the SAB Foundation has provided over R138 million in grant funding and business support to 191 entrepreneurs in the Western Cape. This has helped them grow their collective turnover from R101 million at inception to over R142 million as at 2018, an increase of 41%, and employ a total of 887 people of which 266 are new jobs.

Past and present participants of the Tholoana Enterprise Programme continue to achieve incredible things in their businesses. With funding and business support, Rushana Hartnick, founder of Little Mermaids, a swimschool based in the Cape Flats, increased her business turnover by 150%. As well as teaching people in her area how to swim, Rushana has created 12 jobs within her community.

“What sets the Tholoana Enterprise Programme apart from others is that the entrepreneurs are not just another number – they are individuals and there is a personal touch throughout the programme. We value their personal and professional wellbeing and the contribution they make to South Africa as a whole,” concludes Evans.

To find out more or apply to the SAB Foundation Tholoana Enterprise Programme visit https://sabfoundation.co.za/tholoana-enterprise-programme