Small business owners are key to creating jobs and driving local economies, but running a small enterprise can be tough.

The SAB Foundation’s Tholoana Enterprise Program has been set up to improve the prospects of South Africa’s black-owned small-business sector, helping up-and-coming entrepreneurs grow and develop their companies.

Active since 2015, the program has already supported more than 100 businesses, massively improving their long-term survival rate compared with national averages. Its next intake offers a further 62 places – including some set aside exclusively for businesses run by, or for, people with disabilities. The final call for entries will open in August; click here for more details, with successful applicants beginning their programs in January 2018.

Tholoana offers a comprehensive enterprise-support package, which spans two years and includes workshops on key business skills, as well as mentoring and coaching, networking opportunities and performance management. Successful applicants must be dedicated to creating positive change and contributing to South Africa’s economy.

“We offer committed candidates an incredible opportunity to take their business to the next level,” said the SAB Foundation’s Bridgit Evans, who manages the Tholoana Enterprise Program.

“Our partnership with Fetola, the specialist business-growth consultants, boosts the long-term sustainability of our program participants, making it a highly impactful and sought-after solution for promising South African small businesses.”

The uptick in performance among businesses that have taken part in Tholoana speaks for itself. The Laundry Room, based in Polokwane, in the Limpopo province, is one example. A grant enabled the laundry service to install a security system and a host of new equipment, as well as open a second branch further north in Musina. This – plus help and advice on financial management – has resulted in The Laundry Room’s monthly turnover soaring by 488%.

Other success stories include: IT services provider Great One Infinity, based in Schoemansdal, Mpumalanga, which has enjoyed a 500% turnover boost since joining Tholoana; and Richy’s Computer Shop, in Senekal, Free State, where turnover is up by 192% and two big new clients have come on board.

Click here to find out more about the SAB Foundation and its activities.