BY TOM JACKSON
The SAB Foundation has opened applications to its annual Tholoana Enterprise Programme, which each year provides 60 South African entrepreneurs with seed funding, mentorship and business management training aimed at helping them nurture sustainable enterprises and create jobs.
With only 25 per cent of businesses surviving beyond five years, a trend that is likely to have increased as part of the wider fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, the SAB Foundation launched the Tholoana Enterprise Programme to provide entrepreneurs with invaluable help and support.
The 18-month programme is a structured, two-year business support programme that gives entrepreneurs assistance to access markets, experienced business mentors and critical training to help them address operational shortcomings, grow their businesses and create jobs. So far, over ZAR157 million (US$9.4 million) has been deployed to support 473 programme participants.
About 60 new entrepreneurs who show the most potential and commitment, selected to take part. This is not limited to short-term support, and Bridgit Evans, SAB Foundation director, believes that forming long-term relationships is key to creating a lasting impact.
“An entrepreneur’s need for support does not end after this two-year period 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,” she said.
The SAB Foundation recently launched the Tholoana Enterprise Programme Alumni Fund, which allows selected alumni to access further support in the form of grants and interest-free loans, provided that they meet certain criteria.