By Ishani Chetty
Successful applicants will be provided support over the two-year programme
According to reports, only 25% of SME’s survive beyond five years, due to various challenges. The annual programme aims to increase this number and provide a life-line of support to businesses and entrepreneurs. With SMEs having the potential to make a positive impact on the local economy through job creation and community upliftment, it is critical to support entrepreneurs in growing their business model.
The SAB Foundation has reported that 95% of the businesses supported through this programme are still in operation today, proving that it has been a success.
The SAB Foundation Tholoana Enterprise Programme
Through the programme the selected entrepreneurs are provided two-year business support. This support includes access to markets, mentorship from experienced entrepreneurs,critical training to help them address operational shortcomings, grow their businesses and create jobs.
In a press statement, the SAB Foundation explains that their annual programme has provided support to several participants.
“So far, over R157 million has been deployed to support 473 programme participants. This has helped them increase their collective turnover by 85%, to R315 million per annum, and created 2 445 jobs.”
How to apply
The programme is not limited only to tech-based entrepreneurs but also includes various other sectors.
Applicants must meet the following requirements:
- The business is black-owned and operational, viable, and sustainable.
- The business is headquartered and registered within the South African territory.
- The applicant is involved with the day-to-day operations of the business.
- The business has been in operation for six months to five years.
- The applicant possesses the essential knowledge and skills for the type of business that they are engaged in.
- The applicant can fully commit to the two-year programme and seeks to create positive change.
- The applicant has demonstrated ethical and high moral standards.
Applications must be submitted online.
In this year’s programme, the SAB Foundation is encouraging the following enterprises to apply as they will be focusing on the following:
- Enterprises run by or benefitting people with disabilities
- Women and youth-owned businesses
- Peri-urban and rural enterprises
- Enterprises that create jobs in areas with few other opportunities In addition, we are keen to identify enterprises with good long-term growth potential, and high-impact for example: pontential for job creation.
- Export potential and/or import substitution
- Growth sectors – Water, energy and waste sector – Education (excluding early childhood development sector) – Technology – Agro-processing
- Identified growth areas e.g. Saldhana, Lephalale
Only 60 applicants are selected out of the large pool of applications received. These applicants are chosen based on having the most potential as a business and their commitment.
Long term support
Bridget Evans, SAB Foundation director explains that the programme is not limited to providing short-term support for its successful applicants.
“An entrepreneur’s need for support does not end after the two years and we have launched further initiatives to assist programme alumni as they seek to grow their businesses, especially where we can see high job creation potential,” explains Evans.
The SAB Foundation recently launched the Tholoana Enterprise Programme Alumni Fund. This allows selected alumni to access further support in the form of grants and interest-free loans, provided that they meet certain criteria.
This growth fund aims to help SMEs fulfil a new contract or invest in capital for a growing business.
When the nation went into lockdown, the SAB Foundation assisted several Tholoana alumni to access PPE contracts and also made R20-million available for Covid-19 relief to ensure that as many businesses as possible make it through this difficult time.
In a recent poll, 89% of businesses on the Tholoana Enterprise Programme said they were not under great financial stress due to the support available.