The selection last week of three Free State 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 very intense. The selected 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 the programme offers. A site visit to their business premises was the final step in the rigorous selection process.
“The quality of the 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.”
The businesses chosen from Free State are Thabisile Hlongwane’s Isibusiso Holdings, Kelebogile Mande’s Rejanala Farms & Projects, and Tyson Mpeake’s Mpeake Creations.
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.
Participants can look forward to practical business workshops and personal mentoring, e-learning and support for costing and pricing, 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.
The successful applicants were understandably encouraged and inspired at their selection. With regard to the first workshop which focused on developing their vision, Kelebogile Mande, an organic farmer from Thaba Nchu arrived at the workshop feeling anxious and lacking confidence. She said, “I have learnt a lot from each facilitator. Whatever I have learnt I am going to use to the success of my business.”
If you wish to be notified about the next intake to the Tholoana programme, which opens early in 2017, visit the SAB Foundation website on www.sabfoundation.co.za.