Growing the economy, one SME at a time

Cherilyn Lucena, founder of Tehilaa Golden CC

SMEs who feel the pinch of a shrinking economy and are struggling to make it on their own without assistance, can now apply to be part of the SAB Foundation’s flagship business development programme, Tholoana Enterprise Programme. Applications are open until 26 September 2019.

The foundation says 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.
So far, the SAB Foundation has provided over R8 million in grant funding and business support to 70 entrepreneurs in the Free State. This has helped them grow their collective turnover by 271% from R5 million at inception to over R17 million as at 2018, and employ a total of 388 people, 222 of which are new jobs.

“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%,” says Bridgit Evans, SAB Foundation Director.

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.

Past and present participants continue to achieve incredible things in their businesses. With funding and business support, Cherilyn Lucena founder of Tehilaa Golden CC based in the Free State, increased her turnover from R4 million to over R11 million per annum and grew her workforce from 46 to 135 permanent staff and 15 casual employees.

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