Young entrepreneurs can play a big role helping address the unemployment problem in South Africa, but this can only be fulfilled if these entrepreneurs receive adequate support.
Through its various entrepreneurial programmes, the SAB Foundation provides a continuous journey of support for entrepreneurs. As part of this journey, these individuals have access to business skills development, tailored mentorship, and assistance with access to markets and finance, in order to enable young business owners to reach their true potential.
In conjunction with SocioNext, a programme that was developed at the University of Amsterdam and the Copenhagen School of Business, the SAB Foundation runs five-day acceleration workshops in peri-urban and rural areas. Through this, unemployed youth are given the confidence and early stage skills to start a business in their area.
SocioNext stays in contact with previous participants and has established that only 16% remain unemployed after completing the workshops. In contrast, 31% keep working on the business that they started during the workshop, while 29% started their own businesses, and the balance are either employed or studying. The SAB Foundation’s overall intention is to use this group to create a pipeline for its Tholoana Enterprise Programme.
Since 2015, the Tholoana Enterprise Programme has provided over R168 million in grant funding and business skills development to support 502 entrepreneurs, of which 49% are youth. These young entrepreneurs have created 414 new jobs and have increased their annual turnover by R146,8 million, a 55% turnover increase since inception.
Aspiring entrepreneur, 32-year old Wandisa Nkosi, is the founder of Just Shea Butter and participated in the 18-month SAB Foundation Tholoana Enterprise Programme. Her belief is that her sustainably sourced product has the potential to be the most recognised and trusted pure shea butter brand in Southern Africa.
“The SAB Foundation Tholoana Enterprise Programme has assisted me in reaching new heights with my business,” she says. “Through my participation in the programme, I was offered grant funding, guidance and education through continuous mentorship and business skills development workshops. The foundation really cares about small business development and you see it in the dedication and effort that has been put into creating this programme.”
The SAB Foundation has also invested R3.7 million into its University Seed Fund to support 66 studentpreneurs. The seed fund is an excellent pipeline for the selection of participants of its Social Innovation Awards and Disability Empowerment Awards programme.
At this annual event, the SAB Foundation recognises and rewards individuals that display innovative products, services, business models and processes that directly address social challenges faced by low-income women, youth, people living with disabilities, or people living in rural areas.
To date, four students from the University of Cape Town that were beneficiaries of the University Seed Fund have joined the awards programme, with one of them being awarded first place.
Kedibone Tsiloane, founder of PlastiBrick, was placed second and awarded R900 000 to invest in her business at the SAB Foundation Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards in 2019. Kedibone applied for the programme after reading positive testimonials from other business owners who had embarked on their entrepreneurial journey with the SAB Foundation.
“It has been a wonderful experience working with the SAB Foundation since 2019 and I look forward to continuing my path with its team,” she says. “The support we have received has enabled us to double our number of permanently employed staff from 4 to 8, and have provided more than 100 indirect jobs in our community.”
About the SAB Foundation
Founded in 2010, the SAB Foundation provides grant funding for small, medium and micro-sized enterprises in order to contribute to the economic and social empowerment of historically disadvantaged persons through entrepreneurship development. The SAB Foundation’s primary beneficiaries are women, youth, people living with disabilities and people living in rural areas, from low-income backgrounds. More than R425 million to date has been invested in social innovation, disability empowerment and SMMEs.