Tholoana is passionate about growing the economy


The SAB Foundation recently released an impact report that dives into how their Tholoana Enterprise Programme grows the economy and creates jobs by building businesses that last. Despite the many challenges the small business sector and entrepreneurs have faced over the last year, entrepreneurs in the programme are out-performing their competitors both in turn-over and number of jobs created.

Little MermaidsAccording to one participant: “In January 2013, when I first started the business, I worked from a public phone container, with just two computers and two small printers. From April 2015, the business grew extensively and there was a need to look for a bigger place. Now we are renting a facility, we have 13 computers and two medium-sized printers, and we have added a few other services. We have had the opportunity to be mentored and equipped with business skills and the advantage of a grant to grow our business. Those are our greatest achievements so far.”

In South Africa, the positives of being a successful entrepreneur can spread much wider than just individual self-improvement and getting that Mercedes you’ve always dreamed of – it can create employment opportunities and build wealth and economic development.

We’ve all seen the stats – 27.5% of South Africans are unemployed. That’s 6.21 million people.

Taking to heart the phrase “you can’t fix what you can’t measure”, the SAB Foundation worked alongside industry experts, Greater Impact, to evaluate the impact achieved in the Tholoana programme between 2015 and 2017.

SAB Foundation Tholoana Impact ReportConsidering that we live in a climate where roughly 80% of businesses fail within their first three years, one of the most notable findings from the impact report was that Tholoana participants experienced a positive trend in the number of jobs created – now employing 1336 people, an increase of 162 jobs created.

Bumbanani FarmsAndile Ngwenya is one of the entrepreneurs on the programme. He owns Bumbanani Mantimande farm in the deep rural areas of Ladysmith. Since the start of the programme, he was able to increase his staff to six full-time employees and grow his turnover from R100 000 over two seasons to R300 000 per month!

Catherine Wijnberg, CEO of Fetola (the implementing partner of the Tholoana Programme), says “We’ve worked alongside these businesses throughout the programme, and we’re thrilled to see the extent to which their success continues to have a positive effect in their surrounding communities.”

The Tholoana Impact report gives insight into the effects of the programme, clearly showing its strengths and weaknesses. While the report functions as a way to reflect on how to improve, it also acts as a call to the enterprise development industry as a whole to enhance transparency and share their own impact.

“Knowing our impact, and where there is room for improvement, helps us design and implement more effective interventions,” says Bridgit Evans, director of the SAB Foundation,” a process which the SAB Foundation is 100% committed to.”

To read more entrepreneurial success stories, click here To read more about the programme, download the SAB Foundation Tholoana Impact Report here.

To read more entrepreneurial success stories, click here