Igniting the Entrepreneurial Spirit

Monday, November 2nd, 2015

The perfect pairing for a pilsner

What does a brewing company know about entrepreneurship? More than you might think. An entrepreneurial spirit burned deep in Charles Glass when he arrived in South Africa more than a century ago to set up his brewery in the booming gold mining town of Johannesburg.

More than 120 years later, SAB has grown into an iconic South African company, but because of our grassroot beginnings, we know exactly what the entrepreneurial journey entails and we understand both the challenges and the rewards. We believe in the importance of small business when it comes to growing the economy and have proactively worked to encourage entrepreneurs within our reach by supporting their development through the SAB Foundation.

The perfect pairing for a pilsner

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Focusing on Young Entrepreneurs

For more than 20 years we’ve concentrated on youth entrepreneurship development through the SAB KickStart programme. Recently the programme has been expanded into three enterprise development initiatives: SAB KickStart Ignite, SAB KickStart Boost and SAB KickStart Elevate, each aimed at youth-owned businesses that have different areas of focus and are at varying stages of operation.

SAB KickStart Ignite targets young makers of innovative products or services, who can act as a pipeline for SAB KickStart Boost once they’ve received programme support. SAB KickStart Boost helps to grow youth-owned businesses with high job creation potential key local industries. SAB KickStart Elevate is aimed at young established businesses that require further acceleration in order to become suppliers to big business in South Africa.

With a total investment of over R90-million, SAB KickStart has created a productive space for young entrepreneurs to realise their full potential, by giving them the tools they need to succeed.

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Focusing on the previously marginalised

Through the Tholoana Enterprise Programme (TEP), we concentrate on businesses that are small, rural, women-owned and/or youth-owned, as well as enterprises that are owned by and/or employing persons with disabilities. TEP is a holistic intervention mechanism that provides eligible businesses with development support, skills training, mentoring and seed capital, with the intention of assisting them to grow and become viable over time so as to create more jobs where they’re most needed.

To find out more about the Tholoana Enterprise Programme, download the brochure here.

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Rewarding innovation

The SAB Foundation’s Social Innovation Awards aim to stimulate and reward invention by offering a prize for sustainable innovation. Through this initiative we’re looking for either a product or process that addresses a challenge faced by those who will benefit from the product or process. Entrants are encouraged to think about innovative solutions that can be scaled and commercialised.

The SAB Foundation Innovation Awards are open to any innovation solution with a credible chance of meeting a demonstrable social and/or economic need expressed by The Foundation’s target low-income beneficiary groups (women, the youth, persons with disabilities and persons in rural areas). Since inception, the Awards have invested R13.2 million in 49 innovations.

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Making changes within our value chain

Not only do we focus on supporting the businesses around us, we’re also committed to helping those directly involved in our own business. That’s why we launched the Owner Driver Programme in the 1980s, so that former employees of SAB could start their own companies to distribute our product brands across the country. Over 400 owner-driver businesses have been formed, resulting in the distribution of more than 70% of SAB’s beer volumes.

We’ve also been working closely with our taverners for many decades to help grow their enterprises. This is important because these taverners provide thousands of jobs and support tens of thousands of people. Through our Customer Business Development Programme (CBD), we help tavern owners learn how to run a sustainable and responsible business so as to have a positive impact on their businesses and the lives of those in their communities.

The SAB Go-Farming initiative enables previously disadvantaged farmers to create self-sustaining businesses. By helping farmers elevate their businesses to levels that become self-sustainable, SAB are in turn creating a strong supply chain for malt, barley and maize; a symbiotic relationship that delivers rewards for everyone.

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A culture of entrepreneurship

Our long-term goal is to ignite the flame that will fuel a culture of entrepreneurship in South Africa. This is important because, the reality is that, South Africa lacks a critical mass of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and that our culture of innovation is mostly untapped. This can only be changed by supporting the growth of a critical mass of SMEs, developing entrepreneurial role models, and stimulating and rewarding innovation.

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