The SAB Foundation invests in entrepreneurs and social innovators – with an emphasis on services and products that benefit women, youth, people living in rural areas and persons living with disabilities – who show the potential and commitment to grow their businesses and create jobs.
Set up in 2010 as one element of SAB’s broad-based black economic empowerment transaction, SAB Zenzele, the SAB Foundation is an independent trust that annually invests millions of rands towards developing entrepreneurship in South Africa and ensuring that low-income communities are uplifted.
The SAB Foundation holds 8.4 million SAB Ltd shares through SAB Zenzele and applies the dividend and special dividend income received from these shares for the benefit of the wider South African community.
The objective of the SAB Foundation is as follows:
The provision of funding and support for small, medium and micro-sized enterprises, to contribute to the economic and social empowerment of historically disadvantaged persons, primarily (but not necessarily exclusively) by means of entrepreneurship development and with a priority focus on providing opportunities within small, medium and micro-sized enterprises for women, youth, people living in rural areas, as well as persons living with disabilities.
Tholoana invests in entrepreneurs who show the potential and commitment to grow their business and create jobs. We are especially keen to support women, youth, people living in rural areas and persons with disabilities.
The structured, two-year business support programme is designed by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs. It assists entrepreneurs with access to markets and the potential for seed-funding.
Tholoana is suitable for businesses (both registered and non-registered) from early establishment to those that are ready for growth. Ideally, these businesses have potential to make a difference in their own communities and in the broader economy.
Businesses in new and growing sectors such as export, manufacturing, food processing, water, energy and waste management are especially encouraged to apply
Applications open once a year to recruit 60 businesses.
STEP BY STEP: How the project works
In conjunction with SaveAct, we create rural logistics channels for social innovation products through entrepreneurship and set up small farming businesses in hard to reach rural areas. The intention of the channel was to create self-employment for people by becoming sales agents of a catalogue of products – some of which are previous SAB Foundation social innovation award winners.
A pilot conducted in 2016 saw 15 people trained and operating as sales agents in rural areas surrounding Matatiele in the Eastern Cape. The pilot was deemed a success, so 2017 will see us scale up this work to other areas where savings groups exist.
It is our intention that these two interventions will assist in creating pipeline for the Tholoana Enterprise Programme and the Social Innovation Awards.
We’ve participated in many awards since and always look for opportunities for funding and partnership to develop certain projects. The funding from SAB Foundation allowed us to develop innovation to connect Bluetooth enabled equipment for blood pressure and glucose readings. The community healthcare workers, through their mobile devices, now have a seamless system where they can send the patient’s results to doctors and specialists in big hospitals for a diagnosis and speedy intervention.
We have implemented the system in hospitals in the following provinces: 14 in Limpopo, four in Kwa-Zulu Natal, five in the Free State and the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital. We are also conducting a needs assessment in Lesotho and have looked at e-readiness of ministries of health in 14 SADC countries.
The mentorship from the programme was beneficial because their team walk the road with you while networking opportunities allowed me to meet the right people. The seed funding from SAB Foundation allowed me to acquire equipment to design and create a much lighter and fitting prototype than other products previously created, which were much heavier. With the same machine, I’ve now created the final product that is given to patients in government hospitals post mastectomy procedure.
With the help of the Foundation, I’ll be embarking on a campaign that will get breast prosthetics to 1000 women. Long term, I would like to venture into product diversification like ointments for scars to increase my revenue streams and create more jobs.
My entrepreneurship journey has been a long one. After completing my BSC in Agricultural Economics in Swaziland in 2001, I went to the University of Pretoria to study MSC in Economics. After completing my Master’s Degree in 2005, I enrolled for my PhD but dropped out a year into it when I landed my first job at the Department of Agriculture in Empangeni, KwaZulu Natal as an Economist. I was in the public sector for seven years, last being the Department of Economic Development, before joining the private sector.
In 2014, I secured a job as the MD of the KZN Fashion Council. It was also during this time that I started experimenting with hair product solutions. My plan was to stay there for about three years and they go completely private. However, I was somehow forced to resign after my 6-month probation. After my resignation from the KZN Fashion Council, I decided not to look for another job anymore but pursue my business calling. At this point I had already started experimenting with the different hair formulations – and was helping a few individuals as a hobby. I then decided to focus on the hair business and grow it into a formidable business venture, and hence LeCacci Hair Restoration was born.
Isiyalu is a customised manufacturing and production business specialising in protective clothing and active wear. Clients give us their recommendations for what they want, and we then match that with the right cloth, cut the patterns, put together the design and do the printing and embroidery.
We used to do the manufacturing and then outsource the printing. But this made it difficult to control production because we’d be in a queue where chances were that our delivery would be delayed. We then took the decision to invest in a screen printing machine so that we can do everything in-house, which we added to the cotton-based embroidery machine.