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TSiBA: Leigh Meinert

Cape University employs a multi-faceted funding approach to offer free education to aspirant entrepreneurs.

Juliet Pitman

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Leigh Meinert of TSIBA

Leigh Meinert is passionate about entrepreneurship. So much so that the university she runs offers free foundation courses and a business degree that focus on entrepreneurship. “We think of ourselves as the ‘pay it forward’ university,” says Meinert, who started the Tertiary Institution for Business Administration (TSiBA) in 2005. Inspired by the free education model of Cida City Campus where she previously worked, Meinert and her co-founders secured seed funding of R1,6 million from the Shuttleworth Foundation to start TSiBA. “Our vision was to offer full tuition scholarships for bachelor of business administration degrees that place a strong focus on entrepreneurship,” she says.

Getting hands-on

TSiBA, which appropriately also means “jump” in Xhosa, offers a unique Foundation Year Certificate in Business Administration, followed by an enriched Bachelor in Business Administration programme focused on entrepreneurial leadership. While there are other tertiary education institutions that offer degrees in entrepreneurship, TSiBA is the only one that focuses on the undergraduate student. The programme obviously includes theoretical material, but students get a great deal of hands-on experience. If it’s possible to learn entrepreneurship, gaining experience is the only way to do it.

Meinert explains: “Our goal is to plant the seeds of entrepreneurship in all our students, and we do this by providing them with a real experience of what it’s like to be an entrepreneur. During the foundation course, they engage in simulations and then move on to venture projects in their first year of the degree. For these they are given a very small amount of capital from which they need to grow an entrepreneurial initiative. The second year involves working on a business plan for a viable business idea, which they present to a panel of real venture capitalists at the end of the year. The final year involves an industry practical project in which those who managed to secure VC funding can incubate their businesses, or they can choose to take up industry internships in real companies.”

Funding models

This level of education doesn’t come cheap and offering students full tuition scholarships means constantly having to secure funding. “Some 80% of our funding comes from corporate CSI budgets – supporting entrepreneurship makes good sense for businesses and they see the value of funding TSiBA,” says Meinert. But, she adds, the university can hardly position itself as an entrepreneurship institution without being entrepreneurial itself. “It’s important that we investigate innovative and sustainable ways to fund ourselves, that don’t rely on the grant model,” she says.

To this end, TSiBA has leveraged its expert knowledge and contact base of entrepreneurs to offer consulting services to corporate organisations on their enterprise development (ED) plans. “Many large corporates have budgets set aside for ED and preferential procurement, and they need to invest in these areas  to earn their broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE) points. However, they are not in the business of developing small enterprises – this is our area of expertise so we can add value to their BBBEE process on many different levels,” Meinert explains. TSiBA has also established a BBBEE trust that can be used to transfer ownership stakes should companies require this.

Expansion plans

The field of entrepreneurship presents many opportunities for expansion. Already, TSiBA has established an Entrepreneurship Centre to assist entrepreneurs from economically marginalised communities to get their businesses off the ground. “The Centre addresses two major factors that inhibit the growth of SMEs: lack of resources and insufficient managerial talent. Many other centres were not willing to go to the level of detail that a true grass roots entrepreneur needs in terms of education and assistance, so we focus on this level,” Meinert explains. These services are offered free of charge as part of TSiBA’s “pay it forward” ethos, but they also provide the institution with the opportunity to build up a database of case studies and relevant local examples, which can then be used in the classroom.

Meinert’s future expansion plans are driven by a desire to make an economic impact in South Africa. “We’re taking our model into the rural environment. That’s where the greatest need lies and is where we believe we can have the greatest impact,” she explains, adding that TSiBA intends expanding the scope of its entrepreneurial programme to include short courses aimed at supporting existing entrepreneurs. “So much remains to be done in South Africa and entrepreneurship is the way to get us there,” she says. We couldn’t agree more.

Tertiary Institution for Business Administration (TSiBA)
Player: Leigh Meinert
Est. 1986
Contact: +27 21 532 2750
www.tsiba.org.za

Juliet Pitman is a features writer at Entrepreneur Magazine.

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27 Of The Richest People In South Africa

Here are 27 of South Africa’s richest people, but how did they achieve this level of wealth? Find out here.

Nicole Crampton

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Learn the secrets of SA’s most successful business people, here is the list of the 27 richest people in South Africa:

In a world with growing entrepreneurship success stories, victory is often measured in terms of money. The feat of achieving a place on this list is, however, years of hard work, determination and persistence. “One has to set high standards… I can never be happy with mediocre performance,” advises Patrice Motsepe.

From the individuals that made the 27 of the richest people in South Africa list, actual entrepreneurs and self-made business people dominate the list; while those who inherited their fortunes have gone on to do even bigger and better things with their wealth. Over the years, some have slipped off the list, while others continue to climb higher and higher each year.

  1. Elisabeth Bradley
  2. Sharon Wapnick
  3. Bridgette Radebe
  4. Irene Charnley
  5. Wendy Ackerman
  6. Paul Harris
  7. Wendy Appelbaum
  8. Mark Shuttleworth
  9. Desmond Sacco
  10. Giovanni Ravazzotti
  11. Markus Jooste
  12. Gus Attridge
  13. Gerrit Thomas Ferreira
  14. Cyril Ramaphosa
  15. Adrian Gore
  16. Raymond Ackerman
  17. Michiel Le Roux
  18. Lauritz Dippenaar
  19. Jannie Mouton
  20. Stephen Saad
  21. Patrice Motsepe
  22. Allan Gray
  23. Koos Bekker
  24. Ivan Glasenberg
  25. Christoffel Wiese
  26. Johann Rupert
  27. Nicky Oppenheimer
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Watch List: 50 Top SA Black Entrepreneurs To Watch

South Africa needs more entrepreneurs to build businesses that can make a positive impact on the economy. These up-and-coming black entrepreneurs are showing how it can be done.

Nicole Crampton

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Early-stage South African entrepreneurial activity is at an all-time high of 11%, according to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, and entrepreneurial intentions have also increased to 11.7%. With both activity and intentions growing significantly year-on-year, there are more businesses opening up around South Africa than ever before.

The increase in entrepreneurship has seen the rise of more black entrepreneurs across numerous sectors. From beauty brands to legal services and even tech start-ups, these are 50 top black entrepreneurs to watch:

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Watch List: 50 Top SA Small Businesses To Watch

Keep your finger on the pulse of the start-up space by using our comprehensive list of SA small business to watch.

Nicole Crampton

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Entrepreneurship in South Africa is at an all-time high. According to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), total early-stage entrepreneurial activity has increased by 4.1% to 11% in 2017/2018. This means numerous new, exciting and promising small businesses are launching and growing.

To ensure you know who the innovative trailblazers are in the start-up and small business space, here are 50 of South Africa’s top establishing companies to watch, in no particular order:

  1. Livestock Wealth
  2. The Lazy Makoti
  3. Aerobuddies
  4. Mimi Women
  5. i-Pay
  6. AfriTorch Digital
  7. Akili Labs
  8. Native Décor
  9. Aerobotics
  10. Quality Solutions
  11. EM Guidance
  12. Kahvé Road
  13. HSE Matters
  14. VA Virtual Assistant
  15. Famram Solutions and Famram Foundation
  16. BioTech Africa
  17. Brand LAIKI
  18. Plus Fab
  19. LifeQ
  20. Organico
  21. 10dot
  22. Lenoma Legal
  23. Nkukhu-Box
  24. Benji + Moon
  25. Beonics
  26. Brett Naicker Wines
  27. Khalala
  28. Legal Legends
  29. The Power Woman Project
  30. Aviro Health
  31. AnaStellar Brands
  32. Data Innovator
  33. Fo-Sho
  34. Oolala Collection Club
  35. Recomed
  36. VoiceMap
  37. ClockWork
  38. Empty Trips
  39. Vula Mobile
  40. SwiitchBeauty
  41. Pineapple
  42. The Katy Valentine Collection
  43. OfferZen
  44. KHULA
  45. Incitech
  46. Pimp my Book
  47. ART Technologies and ART Call Management
  48. Prosperiprop
  49. WAXIT
  50. The Sun Exchange
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