Short description

The Hope Factory mentors and trains potential black entrepreneurs to develop life and business skills in order to create new businesses and equip black entrepreneurs with skills to grow their existing businesses.


The average start-up business rate of countries such as China and Brazil is 8.4%. South Africa however, has a start-up business rate of 5.2% which is lower than the average of similar countries.  This situation is aggravated by the high failure rate of businesses in South Africa. In South Africa, 80% of start-up businesses fail during their first year. Of the remaining 20% that survive, more than half of them (60%) do not make it through the second year of existence. Key issues that contribute to failure of SMMEs are the lack of access to markets, funding and business acumen. While the government has policies and agencies in place, this assistance is often insufficient and not efficient.

Research has shown that 80% of entrepreneurs who have mentors working alongside them survive long-term, compared to only 45% who don’t have a mentor.

In order to develop a thriving, job creating SMME sector in South Africa, it is imperative that businesses receive support in the following areas: business skills through mentoring and expansion loans for existing businesses, access to markets, value chain development, commercial business services and social enterprise development.


The Hope Factory develops, equips and supports previously disadvantaged South Africans to establish and grow their own businesses. With enterprise development programmes running in Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg, The Hope Factory is linked to the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) and has been in existence for over 12 years.

The Hope Factory believes that you grow the business through growing the business leader.  The Hope Factory targets both aspiring entrepreneurs as well as those who have already started a business and wish to grow it.

Aspiring entrepreneurs are taken through a start-up programme, the Equipping: Start-up (full-time) (EFT), or Equipping: Start-up (part-time) (EPT) programmes. People who have established businesses are admitted to the Equipping: Business Development (EBD) programme.

These two streams are subsequently filtered through a selection process which determines who may be accepted on to the Entrepreneur Support Programme, a higher level of support.


Equipping: Start-up (full-time) (EFT)

The Hope Factory’s EFT is a full-time 20-week programme covering technical training, life skills, and business skills and mentoring for aspiring entrepreneurs. The technical training consists of sewing and design.

Equipping: Start-up (part-time) (EPT)

The EPT is an eight-week, part-time programme. It offers mentoring sessions to aspiring entrepreneurs wishing to explore the feasibility of their business ideas. Potential EPT students are taken through an interview and selection process before being accepted. The Hope Factory conducts an interview and selection process for those people expressing an interest in either the EFT or EPT.

Equipping: Business Development (EBD)

The EBD programme is aimed at entrepreneurs who already have a business and are attempting to develop it further. It is a 12-week, part-time programme that provides business training and mentoring sessions. EBD students also need to go through an interview and selection process.

Entrepreneur Support Programme (ESP)

The ESP programme accepts students from the EFT, EPT and EBD courses. This acceptance is conditional on the entrepreneur passing a selection committee assessment and provides a higher level of enterprise development support.

The Hub

The Hub is The Hope Factory’s incubation programme. The Hub opened in November 2011 with an intake of 15 entrepreneurs. These students or “Hub-preneurs” are able to stay at the incubation facility for up to three years, but are evaluated every six months. Key services include mentoring support (including financial mentoring), a computer room with internet access, shared industrial machinery as well as meeting rooms and a receptionist. The programme also provides access to market opportunities by facilitating attendance at events like the Grahamstown Arts Festival and various local markets. Many of the Hub-preneurs have also been registered with the Port Elizabeth Business Chamber.

What we like about this organisation

  • The organisation is providing entrepreneurs with the skills required to be more effective and run self- sustaining businesses. The organisation carefully selects their full-time mentors based on prior experience in running their own businesses or experience in servicing small businesses, and trains them in the unique Hope Factory mentorship philosophy, thus ensuring that the entrepreneurs receive optimal mentoring.
  • The Hope Factory targets businesses that are within the first three years of operations, as they most often require the most assistance.

What difference can your money make?

  • R10 000 will be used to buy one micro-franchise for a home-based business.
  • R250 000 will be used towards the growth and development of three entrepreneurs on the enterprise development programme in PE for one year.
  • R750 000 will be used towards the growth and development of 10 entrepreneurs on the enterprise development programme in PE for one year.

Volunteering opportunities

  • Volunteers to mentor entrepreneurs