Giving entrepreneurs with disabilities a helping hand

Tholoana Enterprise Programme, TEP, SAB Foundation

Unemployment rates in the first quarter of 2018 for women and young people in South Africa were approximately 40 percent, while the rate was about 70 percent for people with disabilities. These are the latest unemployment figures from StatSA.

In response to the critical need for better opportunities in these areas, the SAB Foundation has developed a series of programmes focused on uplifting women, the youth, people in the rural areas and persons with disabilities. One of these, the Tholoana Enterprise Programme (TEP), will start accepting applications on August 1, 2018.

“The Tholoana Enterprise Programme (TEP) is a two-year business support and seed-funding programme that provides funding for small, medium and micro-sized enterprises,” says Bridget Evans, SAB Foundation director.

Since its launch, the programme has shown great success. In 2017, it was instrumental in creating 162 new jobs, an average increase of 16 percent at each of the 137 organisations involved in the programme. It also played a part in increasing turnover at these organisations by an average of 18,5 percent.

Evans attributes this success to careful selection as well as ongoing support. She adds: “Each year we select 60 new organisations that show potential to grow their business and create jobs. As well as providing vital seed funding, we also offer ongoing support to help enterprises access markets and enhance their operations.”

Through these efforts, the TEP has helped improve the lives of many people with disabilities. Last year, for example, it provided support to the Deaf Empowerment Firm, which assists deaf individuals through a variety of programmes, including work placements, learnerships and internships.

With the assistance of the SAB Foundation the company was able to increase its turnover by more than 500 percent. Applications for the next TEP will be open soon and the SAB Foundation is calling for entries from entrepreneurs with disabilities and those whose businesses benefit people with disabilities.

Interested business owners can visit SAB Founfation website for more information. Those wishing to enter must comply with the following criteria:

  • Must be black* owned and managed;
  • Must be operational;
  • Must be headquartered and registered in South Africa;
  • Be commercially sustainable and viable;
  • Applicants should be involved in the daily operations of the business on a full-time basis and not be employed by another organisation;
  • Applicants must have the skills and experience necessary for the type of business they are engaged in;
  • The business must be in the early stages of growth: must have been in operation for longer than six months, but no more than five years.

* The term refers to “Africans, Coloureds and Indians who are citizens of the Republic of South Africa by birth or descent or who became citizens of the Republic of South Africa by naturalisation – a) Before 27 April 1994; or b) On or after 27 April 1994 and who would have been entitled to acquire citizenship by naturalisation prior to that date but were precluded from doing so by Apartheid policies”. (Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Amendment Bill, 2011).

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