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USB's Small Business Academy


Why USB's Small Business Academy?

Through its Small Business Academy – launched in May 2012 – the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) aims to give life to its vision of meaning­ful engagement with society and to contribute in its area of expertise, namely business education. With the Small Business Academy, the business school makes a difference to the lives and businesses of small business owners in low-income communities. USB shares knowledge in an effort to develop business skills.


USB works with corporate sponsors and other stakeholders to develop a skill set for small business owners, and to support and guide them for nine months. The USB SBA Steering Committee is the governing body. Currently, the large (Gold) sponsors are ABSA and Distell Foundation. Silulu Ulutho Technologies from Khayelitsha is a founding sponsor. 

Need more information?

Click here for a one-pager on the USB's Small Business Academy.


Donations for the USB Small Business Academy

USB’s Small Business Academy relies heavily on funding to offer the 9-month 
SBA Development Programme to small business owners in Khayelitsha, Mitchells Plain and other low-income communities. This is USB’s primary social engagement initiative. To donate, please click on the button below or contact Dr Marietjie Theron-Wepener, UBS’s Marketing and Stakeholder Relations director, at or on +27 (0)21 918 4242. 

How to donate
Once-off payment: Click here and quote this reference number: 12575-004. You can also request a tax certificate here.  
Debit order: Please complete this form and send it to or fax it to 086 569 5372. 

More about the SBA Development Programme

The SBA Development Programme (SBA DP), which has been presented since 2013, starts in March each year for participants from Khayelit­sha, Mitchells Plain and other communities in Cape Town. Participants become part of the USB SBA for nine months, after which they graduate with an NQF level 5 certificate from Stellenbosch University.

Participants are guided and supported with an intense programme, which includes:

  • Training: Training is aligned with the competence level and needs of the small business owners. The subjects covered are small business essentials, marketing, financial manage­ment, computer training, and business plan writing and presentation. Training takes place at the USB campus in the Tyger Valley business district in Bellville.
  • Mentoring: The mentorship part of the programme is provided by volunteers from the USB alumni body. Each mentor goes through a training and selection process specifically designed for the SBA programme before being matched up with an SBA participant.
  • Engaged learning with MBA and other students:  USB's MBA students must do their assignments for the Business in Society module on the businesses that have been part of the SBA Development Programme. These students create a sustainable business intervention for these businesses. Many of the MBA, MPhil in Development Finance, MPhil in Management Coaching and visiting international students also do case studies or research assignments on matters pertaining to the SBA Development Programme's participants or businesses.
  • Workshops: Practical workshops are part of the curriculum and participants must attend at least two. Workshops are offered by role models and other experts (corporate volunteers). 

Application form: Western Cape

Click here​ for all the application information (Annexure A)

Click here​ for the application form

Application form: Eastern Cape

Click here for all the application information (Annexure A)

Click here for the application form

The application form will be available soon


For enquiries on the USB SBA Development Programme for small business owners, please contact Benji Matshoba on 021 918 4379 or at

Corporate sponsorships and ways to support the SBA

For enquiries about corporate sponsorships and ways to support the SBA, please contact Dr Marietjie Theron- Wepener, USB’s stakeholder relations director, on 021 918 4224 or at .

Research on small business development

The USB SBA Research Unit undertakes research on aspects of small business development in the low-income areas involved in the SBA Development Programme to gain an understanding of the diversity, challenges, financing and support structures of small businesses in these environments. This research includes:

  • A Longitudinal Impact Study: A number of PhD and Master's students at USB are undertaking research to evaluate the impact of the SBA Development Programme on the participants and their businesses. They also do research on the longer term effects of the programme on the economy in the areas involved in the SBA DP, currently the Metro South East region of the City of Cape Town.
  • Fact Sheets on factors influencing the development of small businesses: A series of Fact Sheets are being published on factors influencing the development of small businesses, particularly in Khayelitsha, the second largest low-income community in South Africa. This research is conducted by Prof Wolfgang Thomas, an economist and expert on the development of micro to small enterprises. See Fact Sheets at
  • Research on small business development undertaken on behalf of third parties: The formal business sector, international corporates and government entities often request research on small business development topics. These topics are made available to MBA and MPhil students at USB to complete as part of their research assignments. Feedback is incorporated into the wider body of knowledge at USB as African-based solutions, research and case studies.    

Click here for the Fact Sheets currently available


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