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Enterprise Development Programmes For Black Entrepreneurs

As small businesses in South Africa are recognised as a driving force for economic growth and creation of jobs, enterprise development programmes offered by government and corporates offer black entrepreneurs the opportunity to find support and training to further develop their small businesses.





Businesses serve a critical role in driving more inclusive and sustainable development. Large companies can create positive impact by improving and growing development. Corporates can achieve this by including small business into their value chains and local communities.

Helping small businesses to achieve sustainability and growth is vital for both the development of industries and corporations. Small businesses are critical for job creation, improving living standards, raising productivity and achieving inclusive economic growth and social cohesion.

In the coming years there will be a great demand for jobs and the private sector will be the core to the solution of this challenge.

Many of the new jobs will come out of the small, medium and micro-enterprises, which is why enterprise development programmes are emerging around the world.

Content in this guide

  1. Junior Achievement South Africa Enterprise Development Programme
  2. The Women’s Enterprise Development Initiative
  3. Standard Bank Enterprise Development Programme
  4. First National Bank – Vumela Enterprise Development Fund
  5. Nedbank Enterprise Development Programme
  6. Absa – Enterprise Development Fund
  7. Tholoana Enterprise Programme
  8. The Royal Fields and Job Funds’ Enterprise Development Programmes
  9. Siyakhula Enterprise Development Programme
  10. National Youth Development Agency (NYDA)
  11. The Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA)

What is an enterprise development programme?


This is why you should choose a enterprise development programme.

Enterprise development involves the growing of small and medium-sized black businesses through the provision of finance and support, assisting in their business development and sustainability.

In creating a programme for enterprise development, budding entrepreneurs and all they hire will earn a living, which in turn uplifts their quality of life.

These programmes could lead to long term economic growth for entrepreneurs, their families and friends and their entire communities.

Read: Three Things You Need To Know About BBBEE Now

The enterprise development programme is just one of the elements of BB-BEE and is considered an effective way to combat poverty across the globe.

Its objective is to teach potential entrepreneurs how to create a sustainable business that will grow and increase job creation, which in turn contributes to economic growth.

Enterprise development programmes ought to be aimed at transferring skills and wealth as well as leading to the sustainable growth of small businesses.

How can you benefit from enterprise development programmes?


This is how you can benefit from an enterprise development programmes

Enterprise development programmes aim to pass on knowledge, experience and business support. This aim will provide start-ups with essential tools and resources that can then be used for the development, survival and success of business.

Related: Attention Black Entrepreneurs: Start-Up Funding From Government Grants & Funds

Essential tools and resources can be divided into financial and non-financial support. Non-financial support can be provided in the form of mentorship, market access, network access and the learning of new skills.

80% of South Africa’s start-ups fail in the first three years and this is largely attributed to a lack of support. However, the survival rate of a start-up is increased by the incubation process, which assists small businesses in becoming financially viable.

The Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) and FNB’s Entrepreneurial Dialogues, State of Entrepreneurship in South Africa report revealed that:

“Business incubators assist emerging companies survive and grow during the start-up period, when they are most vulnerable. The incubation process improves the survival rate of start-up companies by assisting them to become financially viable, usually within two to three years.”

The FNB/GIBSs report explains:

“Start-ups fail at a rate of about nine in ten in the first two years of operation. Within the 27 SEDA incubators (in operation), the survival rates are in the region of 84% to 97% in the first two years of operation. Post-graduation from the incubator, the numbers come down but they are still in excess of 70%.”

Why do corporate businesses offer enterprise development?


Enterprise development programmes in South Africa

The B-BBEE Amendments are providing corporate South Africa with an ideal opportunity to construct sustainable businesses and to play a lead role in the socioeconomic transformation of the country.

Investment and improvement in local economies can ensure profitability and economic success for all business around the world.

By offering an enterprise development programme corporates are awarded:

  • Points on the BEE scorecard
  • An opportunity to diversify their supply chain
  • An innovative way to increase business for both small and medium sized enterprises.

It’s an inspiring vision for business to play a real role in the sustainability and growth in the country’s economy.

Related: What You And Your Business Need To Know About BBBEE And Black Ownership

Here are some of the various types of enterprise development programmes that an applicant could apply for:

Youth enterprise development programmes


Youth enterprise development programmes

The unemployment of youth in South Africa is one of the highest in the world. The steady increase of the youth population is not being matched by an increase in job opportunities. There is a large discrepancy between what the youth are being taught and what employers expect them to know.

Junior Achievement South Africa Enterprise Development Programme


Junior Achievement South Africa

Junior Achievement South Africa is a unique intensive incubator style entrepreneurship skills programme. The aim of this project is to address the unemployment challenge amongst the youth.

This programme provides practical entrepreneurial skills and traditional workplace readiness skills. This will solve the challenge the youth face when entering the job market with insufficient experience.

The programme consists of 20 four hour sessions which runs for three to four months. The students are expected to start running a real business, with the intention that the businesses are sustained after the programme is completed.

Who should apply?

This programme is targeted at young adults between the ages of 18 and 25, who are not in school and are currently unemployed. Participants are chosen based on:

  • Commitment to the programme
  • Inclination to participate in entrepreneurial activity
  • Ability to demonstrate problem solving skills
  • Commitment to their personal development.

To contact Junior Achievement South Africa

Women’s Enterprise Development Programmes

These enterprise development programmes are created to increase the economic opportunities for women entrepreneurs by supporting them in starting, strengthening and expanding their businesses.

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The Women’s Enterprise Development Initiative


Women’s Enterprise Development Initiative

This is a niche private equity and Technical Assistance Programme that creates superior returns for investors by investing in women entrepreneurs.

Related: How Women Entrepreneurs Can Change the SA Business Landscape

This fund supports wealth and job creation, while providing support to women in developing countries, helping them to build viable and sustainable enterprises.

Who should apply?

Dynamic women with a record of achievement in businesses? that support women

To contact Women’s Enterprise Development Initiative

FSP Enterprise Development Programmes

FSP Enterprise Development Programmes are offered by banks or financial institutions.

Standard Bank Enterprise Development Programme


Standard Bank Enterprise Development Programme

Standard Bank is offering a specialised Enterprise Development programme. The aim of this programme is to offer financing solutions to primarily BEE businesses that have achieved access to superior earning opportunities from corporates or the public sector.

Who qualifies?

  • A black owned entity, either 51% black ownership or 30% black women ownership
  • A supplier wanting to sell equity to become more BEE viable.

How to apply

Standard Bank has a different approach to enterprise development programmes. A business will select or choose a supplier and then contact Standard Bank, the bank will then offer the supplier financial assistance, which will enable them to meet their obligation to fulfil the contract.

For more information


Government Funding

Learn everything you need to know, where to go, what forms to fill in, and the fastest ways to get government funding.

First National Bank – Vumela Enterprise Development Fund


Vumela Enterprise Development Fund

This initiative was developed in 2010 and has already invested R186 million into alternative SME financing tools.

Resource: Government Funding and Grants for Small Businesses

The aim of this programme is to unlock explosive growth in SME businesses and for creating optimal conditions within these businesses to help them to achieve success.

Who qualifies?

“Our solution will help corporates meet the new B-BBEE requirements which could see some companies downgraded if they do not empower their supplier base.

More importantly, the holistic nature of our model could yield a sustainable economic growth model among the participating companies,” says Head of Enterprise Development at FNB, Heather Lowe.

This programme also targets high-impact SME’s and is open to all industries.

How to apply

Fill in the application form which is readily available and send it in to FNB or Vumela.

To find out more

For more information on the Vumela Enterprise Development fund, please email or

Nedbank Enterprise Development Programme


Nedbank Enterprise Development Programme

This programme offers you growing business flexible financial solutions along with business strategy mentorship programmes.

Related: Tax Basics For Business Owners

By joining this programme you get access to a number of resources, including:

  • Flexible lending, which will help you to purchase fixed assets, maintain your inventory and meet your ongoing operating needs
  • Customised credit is structured to suit your businesses industry and cash flow cycle
  • Mentorship and training, which will take place through seminars and accredited institutes
  • This will help you to improve your business expertise
  • Networking opportunities will enable you to meet like-minded entrepreneurs in your area.

How to apply and find out more

Apply through the Nedbank website or contact them directly:

Absa – Enterprise Development Fund


Absa – Enterprise Development Fund

Absa host a R250 million Enterprise Development fund, which finances SMME’s in the value chains of these corporates or government entities.

Resource: Absa Enterprise Funding

This Enterprise Development Programme will also involve corporates and government entities that are interested, allowing them to meet their ESD obligations.

Who qualifies?

  • Previously disadvantaged individuals with 100% black owned business
  • Small to Medium-sized Enterprise (SME). This includes start-ups and existing businesses.
  • Your SME cannot get normal financing from normal banking channels
  • You are a South African citizen, residing permanently in South Africa
  • You are fully involved in day-to-day operations
  • You already have the skills/ expertise relevant to your business
  • Your business can show profitable historical financials or a realistic cash flow forecast
  • The business’ main transactional account is held with Absa, no split banking is allowed
  • You need a loan of between R5 000 and R3 million with a maximum loan term of five years
  • The economic benefit realised through the finance application resides in the province where your SME resides.

How to apply

Complete an application form and bring it in to your nearest Absa branch, along with the supporting documentation listed on the last page of the form.

Other Enterprise Development Programmes

These enterprise development programmes don’t belong to any one category and often have contributors from finance and government or are private sector developed, hosted by large companies themselves.

Tholoana Enterprise Programme

Tholoana Enterprise Programme

Tholoana Enterprise Programme

This is a high-energy solution that has helped hundreds of businesses to accelerate their success.

The programme includes all round support, expert mentorship, skills training workshops, access to market, and qualified investment-readiness support.

The Tholoana Enterprise Programme has been seen to improve the confidence and skills of entrepreneurs.

Who qualifies?

  • The business is black-owned and managed
  • Your business is operational
  • Your business is headquartered and registered in South Africa
  • The business should be commercially sustainable and viable
  • You are involved in the business’s daily operations and management on a full time basis
  • You have the skills and experience necessary for the type of business you’re engaged in
  • Your business is in the initial stages of operations (older than 6 months and no more than 5 years).

How to apply

You have to register on the portal first, and then you can apply online here.

Please ensure you read the instructions on the portal carefully and download the “Online Application Guidance Document” from the link available on the portal.

For more information

Contact the SAB Foundation Tholoana Team directly on 086 111 1690 or 011 881 8798 (during office hours).

The Royal Fields and Job Funds’ Enterprise Development Programmes


The Royal Fields and Job Funds’ Enterprise Development Programmes

Royal Fields Finance is a financial services group that focus on funding small and medium enterprises; in partnership with the Jobs Fund they have launched an enterprise development program worth R 100 million to support SME’s.

Who qualifies?

This programme focuses on SME’s that are unable to raise funding from banks or traditional funding institutions, due to a lack of trading history, security and risk capital.

The target of this programme is small and medium sized enterprises, that have an annual turnover of less than R60 million and that require funding between R 70 000 and R2,5 million.

The following sectors will be emphasised for this programme as they have been identified as high growth businesses:

  • Infrastructure
  • Manufacturing
  • Small scale farming
  • Renewable and clean energy

How to apply?

There is a comprehensive application process which can be seen on their website here.

You will need to complete a telephonic interview, face-to-face interview, credit assessment, compilation of credit reports.

Resource: The Basics Of Registering A New Company

Your application will then be considered by the Credit Committee and an onsite due diligence is conducted to assess your business.

For more information    

Please contact Royal Fields Finance at:

Siyakhula Enterprise Development Programme

Siyakhula Enterprise Development Programme

Siyakhula Enterprise Development Programme

Total South Africa launched the Siyakhula programme, which is part of Total’s commitment to transformation through the development of black entrepreneurs and enterprises.

Total South Africa CEO and Managing Director, Mr. Christian des Closières explains: “Although enterprise development has been a component of Total South Africa’s transformation strategy for some 60 years, it is time for the company to put more effort and resources into our enterprise development projects, start consolidating on the remarkable gains, and expand our enterprise development footprint into one consolidated programme, Siyakhula.”

Who qualifies?

This enterprise development programme focuses on three specific sectors, namely:

  • Retail – service station network enterprise development
  • Independent service providers
  • Road transport

How to apply

To find out more send your enquiry or application to:

Government Enterprise Development Programmes

These are enterprise development programmes that are offered through various departments of the government.

Read: NYDA Funding

Government enterprise development programmes are targeted at specific demographics, including the youth and women, or focused on particular areas of trade.

National Youth Development Agency (NYDA)


National Youth Development Agency

NYDA is the national youth development agency and they offer a government supported and initiated enterprise development programme. The programme offers entrepreneurship training which corresponds to the labour market and the business needs of young people.

Who qualifies?

Awareness training is aimed at South African citizens between the ages of 14 and 35.

Structured/modular training is aimed at South African citizens between the ages of 18 and 35 and who are existing business owners or aspiring entrepreneurs.

For more information and how to apply

Applicants and those wanting to learn more about this enterprise development programme find your nearest branch information here.

The Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA)


Small Enterprise Development Agency

The Small Enterprise Development Agency is an agency affiliated to the Department of Small Business Development.

Read: Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda)

The mandate is to implement a standard and common national delivery network for small enterprise developments as well as integrate government-funded small enterprise support agencies across all tiers of government.

For who qualifies and how to apply

Please find the application forms here.

For more information

  • Contact SEDA: 012 441 1000
  • Business Information Centre: 0860 103 703
  • Website:

Related: Watch List: 50 Black African Women Entrepreneurs To Watch

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How to Guides

Enterprise Supplier Development (ESD) Provides Opportunity For Entrepreneurs

LFP Training offers ESD support services such as the implementation of sustainable supplier development programmes, profiling and analysis of your supplier database, enabling procurement opportunities for EME’s through collaboration and partnerships and promoting the upskilling of EMEs and facilities the quality of services provided.

Jacolien Botha




LFP Training’s team spends a lot of time educating businesses on the benefits of BEE. As an entrepreneurial venture, the company understands that you have worked hard to build your brand and as such, BEE should strengthen your position the market.

AJ Jordaan, LFP Training’s National Sales Manager says that while Skills Development remains the most cost-effective, productive and mutually beneficial way to gain points whilst improving the performance of your staff, ESD is too a critical component of the scorecard.

“By partnering with a BEE compliant business, companies can claim additional points towards Enterprise and Supplier Development (ESD),” says AJ.

Both ESD and Skills Development initiatives cover large portions of the scorecard in total so it’s vital to score well overall. “Furthermore, ESD is one of the priority elements of BEE and failing to comply with the subminimum requirements will result in your company being discounted a level”.

In a country where entrepreneurship is recognised as a catalyst for growth, ESD helps small businesses to thrive by gaining access to opportunities through its attractive BEE status. “This in turn helps to ensure the sustainability and success of such businesses in South Africa”.

ESD is a combination of preferential procurement, supplier diversity and development and enterprise development programs used to service a business’s needs.

Trading has never been more attractive and ESD contributions can take on many forms. “While some people are still very cynical about BEE, ESD is not based on the value of a contract given to a black business but rather the contributions towards technical help, the transfer of knowledge and skills, operating cash flow, loans and/or investments.”

AJ does warn that while this is a great benefit of being compliant, in an instance where two companies supply the exact same service, the company with the higher BEE recognition will most likely secure the business. “Here, a customer will partner with the company with a higher rating as they earn more points towards preferential procurement under ESD.”

“Today we are seeing some companies penalising a supplier when dropping a level as it influences their scores on ESD so its once again vital to maintain your current BEE level or to improve” AJ continues.

“There are a host of benefits to making sure that businesses align their efforts to compliant businesses, these include; an improved BEE rating, gaining a competitive advantage and reducing costs, supporting a compliant business, a strong and positive association for your business with a compliant business” says AJ.

LFP Training offers ESD support services such as the implementation of sustainable supplier development programmes, profiling and analysis of your supplier database, enabling procurement opportunities for EME’s through collaboration and partnerships and promoting the upskilling of EMEs and facilities the quality of services provided.

Read next: Enterprise Development Programmes For Black Entrepreneurs

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How to Guides

Three Things You Need To Do When Starting A Business

Like a good game of chess, starting a business will challenge you to think about your long-term strategy and also make sure you’re moving the pieces one step at a time in the right direction.

Stacey Ferreira




Starting a business is a dream job for many people who have a great idea, are willing to tolerate some risk and are looking to be their own boss. While start-ups are often glorified in the news – as some reach extremely high valuations – starting a company is a big undertaking that typically requires grit, perseverance and a little bit of luck along the way.

Over the past few years, I’ve started two companies, sold one and raised over $4 million in venture capital from some of Silicon Valley’s top firms. These companies haven’t been without their challenges, so here are the top three things I wish I knew when I was starting out:

1. Talk To Prospective Customers Before Starting Your Business

The biggest time killer in a start-up is building a product you think a customer needs, only to find out, after you launch your product, that the customer actually needs something else. Before starting my second company, Forge, I recorded over 50 conversations with prospective buyers to learn about their top three problems, how they define success and how much they’d be willing to pay to have product or solution that successfully helps them navigate their problem. These conversations helped me narrow in on building a product I knew customers needed and gave me my first few customers.

Related: Crucial Skills You Need To Be An Entrepreneur

2. Reference Check Investors Like You Reference Check Employees

Sometimes raising money is necessary to get a capital-intensive business off the ground or as a way to spur growth. But raising capital, as with anything, comes with a cost. The cost is giving up future value of your business in the form of equity. Who you give this equity and other rights to – such as a board seat, which is often paired with financing rounds – can have a massive impact on the long-term business outcome.

It might seem daunting to ask a lot of questions of someone who is willing to write a cheque for a few hundred thousand or million dollars (or rands), but it’s extremely necessary.

  • Have they invested before?
  • Who did they invest in?
  • What value did they provide to those entrepreneurs?
  • Do they understand that most start-ups fail and that they might not get their money back?
  • Can they introduce you to a few people they’ve invested in previously – business founders who went through both good and tough times?

Since most successful businesses are around for more than 10 years, it’s important to know who you’re going to be working with.

3. Do Whatever It Takes To Make Sure Your First Three Projects Are Successful

If you decide to raise pre-seed or seed capital for your business, take the money and spend 100% of your time working with your first three clients. I often see entrepreneurs who accept capital and then worry about how they’re going to rapidly grow their company.

In reality, in the early days nothing matters more than making your first three clients extremely happy, so you can use their success stories as case studies. Their testimonials will help you sell to client numbers 4-10, which will in turn help you sell to clients 11-100. Focus on your first three customers and tweaking your product or solution experience. Your company will grow organically from there.

Related: 21 Steps To Start-Up

Bonus: Passion Doesn’t Help You Make Payroll

The first time I had to let go of someone from my team, very early on in my career, my dad said to me, “Passion Doesn’t Help You Make Payroll.” You can have an employee who is extremely passionate about the work you’re doing, but if they can’t contribute to making it a reality, it’s better to let them go and get back to building the business.

Whether it’s conducting customer research, pitching to investors or learning from your first clients, starting a business gives you unmatched flexibility and the ability to truly learn every day.

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How to Guides

Tips On How to Build Your First Ecommerce Business

Starting an ecommerce business is really important in this day and age because everything and everyone is online. With the sheer number of people populating the internet, only an online business can reach out to them.

Megan Harris




However, having an online business isn’t just about trying to sell things on the internet. There is necessary groundwork needed to avoid any pitfalls.

Making an online business is extremely lucrative because it can tap markets that can hardly be reached by traditional mediums of marketing. In a study by CMO, it was revealed that 72% of millennial shoppers shop online before they go to a mall or store and these people, who are in the age range of 25-34, are heavy smartphone users when it comes to shopping.

With this kind of information, you can really see how effective having an online store is. So, the question here now is how do you start an online business? Here are a few tips on how to go about.

Decide through market research

Like all businesses, you have to fill in a need or a want. Having an online business is no different. You must first ask yourself what is something that people need and want. Next, you have to ask yourself if you can provide that need or want. After that, you must research if your target market can be found on the internet or not. Once you have all of that down, then you can start.

Related: Watch List: 15 SA eCommerce Entrepreneurs Who Have Built Successful Online Businesses

Develop your online presence

The website will always be the frontline of any online business because this is where all customers will end up. Think of your website as like your store but on the internet. If your store is good and accessible, then your customers will like it there.

In order to build a good website, you’ll need two essential things: a website design and a server. For the website design, you may just design one and use a back-office program like WordPress to manage it. If you want to have a nice design, you may hire a professional website designer for it. Next, you have to think about the server. You’ll want a server that performs well because your server will determine how fast your website moves.

If your service provider is not very efficient, then your website won’t load quickly and smoothly. Before deciding which web host to use, be sure to read reviews about it to get more feedback. Once you have these two things, you just need to learn the process of creating your website then you’re good to go.

Develop a content strategy

So after you’ve built yourself a nice looking website, the next step is to fill it up with information. You have to write well and make sure that your text will cater to the market segment that you are targeting. 

Get found through SEO

SEO techniques are directly related to content as SEO relies heavily on modifying text. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and they are techniques used to give your website a good slot in Google or Yahoo. SEO would primarily make use of keywords that people would often search in search engines. If you know how to make use of these keywords, your site will earn top billing on Google if a person searches for something relevant to your site.

Related: 3 Types Of Ecommerce Business Models

Utilise email marketing to find leads

Using email marketing services along with highly targeted database, is a power tool for pushing your website since email marketing is personalised. People, in general, like to feel special so if you send them an email promoting your online business, you may get them to becoming buyers. The best way to go about with email marketing is to find leads and shoot your emails out. 

Make use of paid channels

PPC ads, or Pay Per Click ads, are quick to drive traffic to a website because advertisers pay a fee each time the ad is clicked. In a sense, the advertiser buys views so that traffic will go into the site faster. This is a quick way to get views and eventually single out the target market.

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