The Tholoana Programme helps entrepreneurs succeed

Applications are open to small business owners from every sector

By Terrena Rathanlall

South Africa needs small businesses to succeed because this is how the local economy can be stimulated and jobs created. 

However, to succeed andand sustain that growth, they need market opportunities, mentorship, business skills and funding. 

The SAB Foundation’s Tholoana Enterprise Programme gives small business owners all this support and more. The programme has a proven track record of delivering exceptional results for hundreds of entrepreneurs all over the country, across multiple business sectors.  

This year, the SAB Foundationin partnership with small business growth specialists Fetola, will recruit 40-60 entrepreneurs who are keen to learn, determined to take their business to the next level and who want to contribute to the economy. 

Entrepreneurs who meet the following criteria are encouraged to apply for a coveted spot on the programme. Applications are open from  1 September  to  5 October 2021  at  midday.  



  • The business is a going concern, commercially sustainable and viable  
  • The business is black owned and managed.    
  • The business is fully operational and has been trading for at least 12 months.   
  • The business is in the early stages of growth.    
  • 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 business is headquartered and registered (if applicable), within South African borders.   

In addition, preference will be given to:   

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

Applications are also welcome from businesses working in new and growing sectors such as export, manufacturing, food processing, water, energy and waste management. 

Fetola’s General Manager Chantal de Kock says: “We have seen the ripplepositive effect this programme has had on entrepreneurs, their employees and those in their surrounding communities. It contributes to the local economy and changes lives for the better.  

“The long-term survival rate of the Tholoana Enterprise Programme alumni is almost nine times higher than the national average, making this one of the most recognised and impactful programmes in South Africa. 

“But in order to enjoy the benefits, this programme is only for entrepreneurs who are open to change and willing to drive new strategies to support the growth of their business.”  

“In 2020, thousands of businesses were forced to cease their operations during the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Andiswa Gumede, SAB Foundation Tholoana Enterprise Programme Specialist. “None of our participants had to close their doors despite being unable to trade. In fact, turnover increased by 146% and job creation by 35%.” 

Since inception, Tholoana Enterprise Programme participants have increased their collective turnover by 85%, from R170 million at inception to R315 million as at 2019. They have also created 832 new jobs. 

To find out more or apply, visit 

Applications open on 1 September and close on 5 October  2021  at midday.     


About Fetola 

Fetola are business growth professionals specialising in the acceleration of small and growing businesses, especially those owned by black women, youth and rural entrepreneurs. Fetola provide proven solutions in enterprise and supply chain development, SMME support and job creation, and skills training to ensure lasting success. 

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