SAB Foundation Graduation

Entrepreneurship is alive and well in South Africa – as all who attended the annual Tholoana Award ceremony at Birchwood Hotel in Boksburg on 5 June can attest to this after hearing the stories of success.

Doreen Kosi, Trustee of the SAB Foundation, who funds the programme said, “We are deeply committed to both the transformation of the economy and addressing the jobs crisis. We believe that small business can help in the economic transformation of this country by becoming exporters too, earning foreign exchange, while lessening South Africa’s dependence on imported goods. A commitment to excellence and the ability to consistently deliver high quality products, in big volumes, on time is the challenge for all small businesses.”

She was optimistic that the 37 participants who graduated from the SAB Foundation Tholoana Enterprise Development Programme were up to the challenge. They had started the programme in July 2016 and had earned their graduation certificates. After completing the programme, the group’s collective financial growth stood at a nominal 59% with individual growth at a remarkable 182%. This group also created 53 new permanent jobs, which represents a 30% increase in employment figures. That alone is something to crow about. After completing the programme, the group’s individual growth stood at a remarkable 182%. This group also created 53 new permanent jobs, which represents a 30% increase in employment figures.

It also goes to show that above average business growth and substantial job creation are facilitated by entrepreneurial ecosystems – like the Tholoana Programme, which is powered by business development professionals, Fetola – offer skills training, mentorship and access to funds and markets.

Now in its eighth year of existence, the programme originated to realise the mandate of SAB Foundation’s trust deed aimed at contributing to the economic and social empowerment of historically disadvantaged persons.

Bridgit Evans, Director of the Foundation, said, “Our priority is to provide opportunities for women and youth, people in the rural areas, and persons with disabilities.” She was excited by the results of the most recent cohort, whose graduation was celebrated with a range of awards for the top performers.

The winners came from Northern Cape, Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga, Western Cape and Limpopo. Upington butcher, Hermanus Stevens of Kolskoot Vleismark, earned the Achievement Award for the business showing the most profitable and sustainable growth. The Superstar Award went to Bukelwa Ngoqo of SunKissed Fashion in East London and Netto Maluka, of Mbombela Experience in Nelspruit. The Standing Ovation Award went to Claudia Williams of CW Williams Fruit in Pniel, near Stellenbosch. The Spirit Award was given to Mamokiba Makuwa, of TKY Trading Enterprise, in Limpopo. The Social Media and Marketing Award was won by Afika Mbandazayo of the Eastern Cape. The Tholoana Award, the main award of the evening, which carried a R10 000 prize went to Thabo Ntswane of Thabo Equipment and Tool Hire owner in Polokwane.

Evans reflected on the significant impact being made individually and collectively to the economy and to the national wellbeing:

“The forecast is that by 2030, as much as 90% of new jobs in our economy will be created by small, medium and micro enterprises. In reality, while fewer than 30% of all SMMEs survive beyond three years it is profoundly heartening to see these  thriving small business owners contributing so effectively to creating employment in under-resourced areas of the country.”

Applications for the next intake open in August and eligible black-owned businesses are welcome to apply. Follow this link to register your interest in the SAB Foundation Tholoana Programme or email