Apply now for the SAB Foundation Tholoana Enterprise Programme

Applications are now open for the SAB Foundation’s Tholoana Enterprise Programme, an 18-month programme designed to empower entrepreneurs from all business sectors to build successful and sustainable businesses.

The programme has become one of SA’s most well-known and impactful business growth initiatives, with participants consistently rating it as life-altering and transformational. The programme specifically targets entrepreneurs who demonstrate a desire and willingness to grow their businesses and create jobs.

The SAB Foundation ensures that there is balanced representation from all nine provinces including peri-urban and rural areas and it actively seeks participation from businesses that are led by women, youth, and people with disabilities. This allows for rich conversation and valuable debate amongst peers on the programme.

The Tholoana Enterprise Programme has garnered significant recognition for its impact on South African communities, with over 555 entrepreneurs supported, of which 50% are women and 57% are youth. These businesses collectively employ over 4500 individuals with 1395 being new jobs since joining the programme.

Impressively, the long-term sustainability rate of alumni businesses is nearly nine times higher than the national average, highlighting the lasting impact of the programme on local economies, despite the challenging economic climate in South Africa.

“To maintain business growth, entrepreneurs require strategic, personalised and comprehensive support to help realise their full potential,” says Itumeleng Dhlamini, Head of Programmes at the SAB Foundation. “In addition to extensive skills development and grant funding, we also offer our participants one-on-one mentorship, which is key to their success.”

The Tholoana Enterprise Programme stands out as a sought-after opportunity for high-potential business owners who desire success. Upon acceptance, participants undergo a holistic process of self-assessment, goal-setting, and strategic growth planning, tailored to meet the specific needs of each business. The programme focuses on nurturing business growth, fostering resilience, and creating a thriving network of opportunities for participants long after completion.

Past programme participant, Cindy Malaza of Timeless Opulence, says, “I would like to thank the SAB Foundation Tholoana Enterprise Programme for both the financial and mentorship support. Through the mentorship I was able to take my business from zero to hero, especially through the pandemic where I watched my business grow in leaps and bounds.”

Another past participant, Freddy Sibuyi of Freddy & Sons Engineering cc, saw his turnover grow a staggering 900%, and his staff numbers increase from 4 to 15 during his eighteen months on the programme.

“We believe in the power of entrepreneurship to bring about positive and impactful change in our society,” concludes Dhlamini. “This programme stands as a testament to the impact that determined and visionary entrepreneurs can have on their communities and the economy at large.”

Entrepreneurs who meet the criteria are encouraged to apply early for a coveted spot in the programme.

Preference will be given to applicants that are:

  • Peri-urban and rural enterprises.
  • Enterprises that create jobs in areas with few other opportunities.
  • Enterprises run by or benefitting people living with disabilities. 
  • Women and youth-owned businesses.
  • Businesses with immediate high growth potential


  • The business is fully operational and has been trading for at least 12 months. 
  • The business is black owned and managed. 
  • The business is headquartered and registered (if applicable), within South African borders. 
  • The business is a going concern, commercially sustainable and viable. 
  • The applicant is involved in the daily operations and management of the business on a full-time basis and is not employed by any other organisation. 
  • The applicant has the skills and experience necessary for the type of business they are engaged in. 
  • The applicant should show a willingness to learn, grow and change. 
  • The applicant should show entrepreneurial and leadership abilities. 
  • The applicant should be resilient and driven to succeed. 

Applications are open from 1 August to 5 September 2023 at midday.

To find out more about the programme or apply, visit

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