SAB Foundation -A group of over 170 people gathered to celebrate the graduation of the 2017 intake of entrepreneurs who completed the intensive two-year programme last month. The SAB Foundation Tholoana Programme is in its ninth year of existence and the mandate of the Foundation is aimed at contributing to the economic and social empowerment of those who were previously disadvantaged.
Bridgit Evans, Director of the SAB Foundation, said, “The Foundation is geared towards providing opportunities for women, youth, people in rural areas, and persons with disabilities.” Bridgit expressed her excitement and pride while addressing the forty-eight entrepreneurs who graduated on the evening. The graduating cohort achieved remarkable results while on the programme.
The group achieved an overall growth rate of 41%, an incredible individual growth rate of 53%, and they created eighty-three jobs, fifty three of them being permanent. Results like these are rare in today’s economy, but these entrepreneurs have proved many wrong Alex Msitshana of Deaf Empowerment Firm was one of the graduating entrepreneurs and a keynote speaker.
She delivered a speech that addressed one of the key factors of the programme – diversity. She said, “We come from very different and diverse backgrounds as individuals and SMMEs but have one common thread among us, being that, we are passionately South African. We are also very proud to have been associated with a company whose roots are as South African as biltong.”
Alex spoke on behalf of other entrepreneurs in South Africa with disabilities and how this programme is inclusive and supportive of people with disabilities. “That is what we talk about as people with disabilities when we talk inclusivity – make the environment conducive, whether it is the work place, a school or university, society in general – make the environment conducive so people with disabilities can also thrive and put their abilities to maximum use.” The diversity of the programme also speaks to the diverse businesses that can be found on the
programme. From catering, building, cleaning to a mobile pharmacy in Khayelitsha – this programme reaches all corners of South Africa.
Freddy’s mentor, Ntando Maseko proudly says, “Freddy was not afraid to push his personal boundaries, his business’s boundaries, and his employee’s boundaries. At times I had to tell him to slow down, but he never did and because of his perseverance and determination he was able to achieve his goals.”. The call for applicants for the SAB Foundation Tholoana Programme will open again towards the end of the year. Eligible black owned businesses are encouraged to apply by visiting the SAB Foundation website here www.sabfoundation.co.za.