The recent selection today of four Eastern Cape emerging entrepreneurs to participate in the SAB Foundation Tholoana Enterprise Programme, is a sign of vigorous entrepreneurial health in the region. Nationally, only 46 small business owners were chosen from more than 2000 applicants country wide, and competition for places was intense. These four women, three of which are youth entrepreneurs, will benefit from an intensive two-year programme that provides wrap around business support to take their business to the next level of success.
At recent workshops held in Cape Town and Johannesburg, short-listed applicants were exposed to the unique style of business training and entrepreneur support on offer. A site visit to their business premises was the final step in the rigorous selection process. The four businesses chosen from the Eastern Cape are Afika Mbandazayo of AfikaM Hair&Beauty, Bukelwa Ngoqo of SunKissed, Zandile Matiwana of Silulo Ulutho Technologies Franchise and Sibongile Booi of Second Office.
“The quality of applicants from this region was outstanding,” said Bridgit Evans, the manager of SAB Foundation. “We were really impressed with the candidates, and the passion for their respective endeavours. We congratulate each one.”
Catherine Wijnberg, founder of Fetola, who is the implementing partner for Tholoana, said, “We are passionate about helping South African entrepreneurs succeed. The Tholoana programme does this by empowering promising black-, women- and youth-owned businesses, and providing them with the professional growth support they need to become fully empowered and in control of their business future.”
She noted that youth entrepreneurship is an increasing priority to counteract rising youth unemployment. “We are thrilled to note that more than 61% of our participants are under the age of 35. They are embracing the challenge of running their own businesses with fresh concepts and original thinking,” she said. “The Tholoana programme is specifically keen to support enthusiastic, passionate entrepreneurs who are committed to building a successful future, for themselves, and the people their business serves.”
The successful applicants were understandably encouraged at their selection. They have just returned from attending a costing and pricing workshop which focused on how entrepreneurs can price their products and services optimally. Participants were encouraged to use social media as an inexpensive and efficient way of promoting themselves.
Afika Mbandazayo had helpful tips to share with fellow participants, volunteering some bright ideas related to the arrival soon of spring! Sibongile Booi of Second Office in East London was enthusiastic about the new material that was covered on the course. She spoke enthusiastically about the value of networking. The four women have plans to share their skills with each other in monthly meetings that will facilitate the growth of their businesses and the best use of the learning resources.
Already they are looking forward to the next workshop. The package of benefits includes personal mentoring, e-learning and support for raising finance, human resources, and brand development. Additionally, they will receive media and marketing assistance, investment readiness preparation, as well as access to a wide network of like-minded peers.
Entrepreneurs wishing to be notified about the next intake to the Tholoana programme, which opens early in 2017, can visit the SAB Foundation website on www.sabfoundation.co.za.