EC SMEs, here's your chance for a slice of a multi-million-rand funding pie

04 September 2019 | Web Article Number: ME201916117

Education & Training
Food & Beverage
SMME Development & Support

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.

That’s according to Bridgit Evans, SAB Foundation Director who added, “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%”.

She said the foundation does this through a number of business development programmes including their flagship, Tholoana Enterprise Programme which is open for applications until 26 September 2019.

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 R35 million in grant funding and business support to 1 056 entrepreneurs in the Eastern Cape. This has helped them grow their collective turnover from R17.5 million at inception to over R29.5 million as at 2018, an increase of 69%, and employ a total of 1 293 people of which 1 150 are new jobs.

Thanks to funding and business support, Bukelwa Ngoqo, founder of Sunkissed Fashion - based in the Eastern Cape, increased her turnover from R250 000 to R830 000 and grew her workforce from four to eight employees.

“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,” Evans said.

To find out more or apply to the SAB Foundation Tholoana Enterprise Programme visit

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