About Us

The South African Institute for Entrepreneurship (SAIE) is driven by a vision of a dynamic culture of entrepreneurship in South Africa that promotes a positive mindset in youth and adults and assists in the eradication of poverty through the creation of effective entrepreneurs.


The Institute has developed a series of training programs that use active learning principles to engage participants in a process of discovering the fundamentals of business. The aim is to help change mindsets from passivity and fatalism towards an active engagement with opportunities. The Institute has three main areas of involvement:


Schools, with programs covering grade 2 to grade 12. Our materials are Curriculum-aligned, and introduce learners to the essence of entrepreneurship through case studies, group discussions and interactive exercises.


Grass-roots Enterprise Development. The Institute has a powerful business simulator game (known as the BEST game), which introduces illiterate adults to the fundamentals of business. After a week of exposure to the BEST game, participants have learnt the key pillars of business, viz the perception of the business as a separate entity which needs to be funded in order to survive, understanding of markets, principles of manufacturing and managing money.


Subsistence farmers. An adaptation of the BEST game, known as AgriPlanner, helps subsistence farmers to make the transition towards regarding their plot of land as an economic unit capable of generating an income. Participants learn to engage with the markets, and to plan production to meet market requirements.


In each instance, the training is designed to introduce participants to new concepts and experiences, to train them in new skills, but most importantly to bring about a shift in mindset. This emphasis on an entrepreneurial mindset distinguishes SAIE from many other agencies involved in development. The difference is sharply defined by the manner in which SAIE deals with the challenges and setbacks that inevitably accompany any new enterprise. Most welfare-orientated agencies, including government departments, tend to deal with problems by providing solutions, whether in the form of money, goods or equipment. While not denying the need for such solutions, the Institute is keenly aware that welfare invariably suppresses self-reliance, and pushes people back towards a state of dependency. SAIE strives to approach problems from the perspective of encouraging the entrepreneur to find their own


Key Challenges

The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) 2010 Special Report indicated that South Africa has a low level of entrepreneurship and a very high failure rate of new enterprises relative to other countries. In terms of total entrepreneurial activity (the TEA rate) South Africa scores the third lowest out of 17 countries analysed in its peer group. Results of a study released in March 2010 by the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), confirm that South Africa’s level of entrepreneurial activity is low.


The education system in South Africa is contributing further to the problem rather than helping to resolve itSouth Africa has consistently under-performed on international measures of numeracy and literacy, behind even poorer countries such as Ghana, and conflict-ridden societies such as Palestine. The National Curriculum Statement, introduced in 2002, was a bold attempt to redefine the educational landscape. However certain key factors in the plan turned out to be beyond the capacity of educators and administrators to implement, with the result that considerable tension was generated among key stakeholders, while the declining Grade 12 results added further impetus for change.


A program of changes was announced by the Minister in July 2010 which will, it is hoped, go some way towards improving the situation, but the needs are so pervasive that the road ahead for creating a new educational environment is long and hard. In the mean time, each year of the 1.1 million children who start Grade 1, only about half make it to Grade 12, and of those, just over 60% pass. The rest, some 640 000 young people, drop out of the school system with extremely limited chances of finding employment, and join the 2.5million South Africans between the ages of 18 and 25 who are currently unemployed. For moral, economic and social reasons, education is undoubtedly an extremely urgent priority for the whole country.


A third area of national concern is the underperformance of small-scale agriculture. In 2005 DFID reported that, “Strong agricultural growth, particularly increased productivity, has been a feature of countries that have successfully reduced poverty”. This is evident of the Green Revolution and its tremendous strides in Latin America and Asia, for example “between 1980 and 1995 per capita food production increased 27% in Asia and 12% in Latin America” (Kofi Annan). By contrast, “In sub-Saharan Africa, it fell 8%. Indeed, Africa is the only region where the average per capita food production has been constantly falling for the past 40 years – and is still falling.” And the consequences are slower overall growth and continued hunger and poverty. A key reason for this decline is that small-scale farmers do not have the skills to utilize the potential available land and accelerate economic and social development of the rural areas.


The African Union’s Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme sought a 6% annual growth in food production by 2015. Unfortunately, South Africa has been unable to attain these objectives. World Bank data shows that Agriculture as a value added percentage of the GDP has stayed stagnant at 3% between 2000 and 2008. The Department of Agriculture 2008/09 Annual Report stated that “High food prices and the impact thereof on the most vulnerable members of our community has been a serious challenge to the department during 2008. Although this is a global phenomenon, our concern has rather been about food accessibility (affordability) to the poorest of the poor in the country.” With approximately 80% of agricultural land available in South Africa, there is substantial scope, with efficiently use this land, to increase employment and decrease poverty. South Africa has made some strides in the restitution of land to those who had lost it as a consequence of past discrimination. However, almost 90% of land claim beneficiaries are in danger of having their farms repossessed by the Government because they are failing.


The South African Institute for Entrepreneurship has a vision of a dynamic culture of entrepreneurship in South Africa that promotes a positive mindset in youth and adults and assists in the eradication of poverty through the creation of effective entrepreneurs and enterprises


The SAIE develops innovative materials that utilize original, creative methodologies; and trains educators, trainers and community-based organisations to convey business skills, uncover entrepreneurship qualities and ensure sustainable economic development and wealth creation.


Organisational Aims

To develop in individuals the capacity to identify business opportunities based on their skills, their opportunities, their natural resources, their network of contacts, their favourite activities, the places they know well etc.

To enable individuals to discover the impact of various business decisions and provide a life-like experience of the repercussions of allocating capital, including discovering the affects of good or poor investments.

To empower individuals to prepare for the management of an effective, dynamic and sustainable business based on their innovative and entrepreneurial ideas including to prepare for unplanned expenses, understand and be alert to the dangers of selling on credit, have the opportunity to practise selling and negotiating, write simple business plans, do break-even calculations and draw up simple cash flow statements, income statements and balance sheets describing a business (simulation) that they have experienced first-hand.

To facilitate poverty eradication through the development of entrepreneurs and effective, profitable business enterprises.


Background Information:


The Institute was born out of the Triple Trust Organisation (TTO) in 1996 in recognition of the critical need for easily accessible financial literacy training materials for both the small enterprise sector and for schools. The Triple Trust Organisation was itself established in 1988 as a job creation and skills training NGO committed to the social and economic upliftment of South Africa’s disadvantaged, mostly uneducated and unskilled populace.
Since TTO was primarily serving those individuals who had little or no education, there was a need to find appropriate methodologies to convey complete financial and business concepts through experiential and discovery learning. As a result, a simulation “game”, the “Best Game” (Business Expenses Savings Training) was developed. In 1994, the ILO approached TTO with a view to establishing a partnership that would enable them to utilise the BEST Game internationally. The partnership was finalised in 1995 and resulted in additional training modules being developed in order to expand the reach of the materials to other settings and participants, particularly to youth and school-going learners.
In 1996 TTO established a separate training development arm to focus on creating and testing similar and related entrepreneurial business development training tools and materials using these methodologies. So the South African Institute for Entrepreneurship (SAIE) was born.
Since its inception SAIE has grown from a two-person organisation to one with a staff of 13 people. Using BEST Game as the initial program, many programs have been developed over the years.


Best Game
The BEST Game has been translated into over 18 languages and has been used all across South Africa’s 9 provinces and by 70 organisations around the world from Singapore to Kazakhstan to Brazil. BEST Game aims to convey the principles of running a business to people who are not functionally literate. But, it has also been used in more formal business training settings. For example by TSiBA Education who has used the BEST Game as part of their entrepreneurship curriculum. The BEST Game has also been used across Africa by HopeHIV and other charity funded organisations.
Business Ventures


SAIE has also received significant acclaim for the development of its schools entrepreneurship program, which was developed in 1996. The BusinessVENTURES system is a holistic solution to educator development because it proceeds from two complementary starting points: (1) good learning materials without development training will not transform the educator; and (2) yet educator development training without good learning materials will not deliver effective and efficient learning in the 21st century. The program has been developed for Grade 2 to 12 pupils and has been translated into Afrikaans, Xhosa and Zulu. Thus far, more than 16085

Educators have been trained in all 9 provinces of South Africa. These are some of the comments from the educators who have used the program:
  "It’s outstanding!"
  "It’s creative!"
  "Learners change, they learn to come forward with their own ideas, they take risks in their thinking."
  "The materials are easy to follow and will make learners think."
  "In a nutshell the program is user friendly and very interesting."
  "The materials are easy to follow and make learners think."
  "The program has been of great help to the educators."
  "This program is a stimulating way to acquire information."
  "We have worked very well. It was so encouraging to every one that was in a team."


Agri Planner
Kofi Annan once stated that: “The path to prosperity in Africa begins in the fields of Africa’s small-scale farmers, with a dramatic sustainable revolution in agriculture”. And it is with this philosophy that SAIE’s AgriPlanner was born and has been such a success. In July 2004, SAIE began to develop its agri-business suite of programs to convert farmers from a subsistence mindset to regarding their plot of land as the foundation for their own agri-business. Rural, small-scale farmers speak of now being able to feed their families, to support nearby schools and clinics, and to earn revenues by selling to the community and even to the local supermarket. SAIE has gone on to partner with organisations such as Abalimi, Siyakhana, SCAT, Siyazisiza in South Africa (to name only a few) and the program has also been used across Africa from Tanzania to Zimbabwe.


Welcome World

SAIE has also gone on to produce a program that specifically deals with developing South Africans’ confidence in dealing with tourists. This program has only been used in the Western Cape by Organisations such as Cape Town Tourism but it has received praise for its user-friendly and creative methods. Welcome World is a highly interactive role-playing simulation style game that benefits learners with a great depth of experience on how to interact positively and effectively with tourists.



Having developed all these programs, SAIE felt it vital to develop a method in which to measure the impact of its programs. Thus, Entreprenometer was born and uses questionnaires, video recordings and interviews in order to establish participants’ entrepreneurial qualities pre and post contact with SAIE’s programs.
To learn more about SAIEs projects, please use our “Project Search” tool on the upper, left hand side of the page.


The South African Institute for Entrepreneurship:


The South African Institute for Entrepreneurship (SAIE) is a not-for-profit, Section 21 NGO which has Section 18a status. SAIE was constituted with a Memorandum and Articles of Association in 1996 and is governed by a Board of Directors.

In 1996 the SAIE was established as an independent registered Section 21 Non Profit Organisation. Between 1996 and 2009, the SAIE established various other partnerships with licensees in the Philippines, Brazil, and the United States to market and implement its programmes worldwide. Through these activities, the SAIE’s products are now used in 75 countries and have been culturally adapted and translated into 18 languages.












We operate in all provinces in South Africa as well as around the world (our products have been used in over 75 countries and have been translated into 18 languages). We work in partnership with many South African NGOs and with the Department of Education.


Projects in South Africa

We at the Institute are passionately patriotic and proudly South African - but we are not possessive! We spend hours thinking about what we can do to assist with making this country even more fabulous than it already is.
Our particular enthusiasm is around entrepreneurship, job creation, changing mindsets towards better ways of learning and thinking up creative ways to convey information to ensure learning takes place – while having fun!
We are also very keen on partnerships. There are so many wonderful organizations we have worked with over the years – funding partners as well as other amazing NGOs doing incredible work in their fields.
Because we work primarily in the sectors of manufacture, retail, agriculture, tourism, craft businesses and education (primary, secondary and tertiary) we have developed many friendships over the years – both locally and internationally.


Because the issues around entrepreneurship and business training are common to the missions of so many organizations both in South Africa and internationally – and because the need for methodologies that are appropriate to the particular target groups is so critical – SAIE’s has had the wonderful opportunity to share its materials and methodologies with many organizations and in the process has been enormously enriched by these relationships.


In South Africa our current partners are -
Tsiba University in the Western Cape, TRAC in Mpumalanga, Umthathi in the Eastern Cape, Heifer in KZN, Siyasizisa in KZN, Food and Trees in Gauteng, Soil for Life in the Western Cape, Sparrow Schools in Gauteng, Sibanye in the Western Cape, Abalimi in the Western Cape, schools and education departments in all 9 provinces and also at the Department of Education.


In addition we are supported currently by -
ABSA, JP Morgan, Astrapak, Media 24, Foschini, SAB, Coronation Fund Managers, Pick ‘n Pay, BATSA, Greater Good SA, Allan and Nesta Ferguson, the NDA, DG Murray Trust, the Solstice Foundation, Umsobomvu, SEDA, Deutsche Bank and SASOL.

We have many other partners with whom we are in discussion on other possible projects ranging from the provision of entrepreneurship for call centres, AIDS projects, leadership development and many others.


International Projects

Internationally we have had a range of partners over the years including the ILO (UN)based in Geneva, GTZ in Germany, CentroCape in Brazil, CEFeNET in the Philippines, EcoVentures International, (http://www.eco-ventures.org), Hope HIV Africa 

SAIE's products for Training of trainers 


What SAIE is able to contribute


SAIE has had an active involvement in, and been able to show a meaningful impact in all three areas of need. The area of small business entrepreneurial development we are able to self-fund through the existing Seta Skills Development system. Through our SAIE Entrepreneurship Academy we aim to launch over 500 new businesses per annum, run by entrepreneurs who have gained solid skills through our development program.



With the support of the local Department of Education SAIE trains groups of educators in the learning methodology on which our materials are based, and equips them with the Business Ventures kit. They use the kit as a resource for themselves and the learners, since it is integrally aligned with the Business Studies part of the curriculum. Our Project Managers follow up the initial training with two visits about 3 and 6 months afterwards, to support and advise them on the most effective way to use the materials. Thereafter the educators are able to continue using the materials without further support.
The impact of using the Business Ventures materials can be seen in a high degree of motivation and interest by both educators and learners. In some rural schools, educators report that attendance is low on Fridays – unless our materials are being used on that day. Grade 12 results are excellent. One school achieves averages of between 85 and 97% for Business Studies, while other schools without our materials average below 50%. One complete region using SAIE materials moved from being the lowest on the Provincial tables to being the top in Grade 12 Business Studies. Overall, almost 500 000 learners have been impacted by SAIE Business Ventures over the last 5 years.


Enterprise Development
Early in 2010 SAIE will open it’s doors to the first cohort of 100 aspirant entrepreneurs who will joint the SAIE Academy on a year-long Learnership program in New Venture Creation. They will spend one week per month in the Academy, with the remaining three weeks being spent working in their own start-up business. They will be exposed to a wide range of business-related skills in the course of the year, and will be equipped to run their business sustainably once they have completed the program.








SAIE has run projects in communities in KZN, Northern Cape, North West Province, Free State and the Eastern Cape. Communities have been trained using AgriPlanner to measure their plot of land, to calculate how many seedlings to plant per square meter, and to keep records of costs. They learn to ‘sell before they plant’, so they have an understanding of the market and what it needs. They plan their production and harvesting to be in line with what they are able to sell. In a distinct break with traditional practice, they learn to plant and harvest throughout the year, and not only during the rainy season. In a project in Pongola, KZN, over 150 families are being helped to grow sufficient food to feed their families but also to sell their produce to local supermarkets or to the surrounding community. As they mature into the program, they become increasingly self-sustaining and able to deal with the challenges that they encounter in running an agri-enterprise.


Our Learning Philosophy

Since we develop learning materials, you would think that we’re passionate about teaching. But you’d be wrong. We’re not passionate about teaching. We’re passionate about learning. And this subtle shift in focus from teaching to learning is what really defines our educational philosophy...



In the spirit of innovation and responding creatively to ongoing needs, we have many products in incubation. 
We have a passion for learning, we do it all the time! We are on a restless quest to find better and simpler ways of making life easier for learners who are often baffled by the complexities of layers of life, and confusing expectations that confront them.


We believe that all people should be able to have a crack at finding meaning and fulfilment in what they do from day to day.

We believe that entrepreneurship is about seizing the day, doing it for yourself. It’s about putting yourself firmly in the responsibility seat with a repetitive mantra of “If it’s going to be, it’s up to me!” ringing in your ears. It is about seeing gaps with potential and being filled with the passion to fill those gaps and make a make a difference.


At present in a transforming South Africa there are countless opportunities.

We see huge gaps...
  in an education sector that is bumbling in crisis and desperately in need of new approaches. 
  in creating proactive opportunities for disillusioned youth, 
  in finding positive solutions for the seething discontent of the unemployed. 
  in opening up the world of business to hungry learners 
  in offering pathways to frustrated people seeking a more meaningful life

The SAIE’s initial focus was to provide training materials for illiterate or semi-literate adults using the Best Game Simulation Tool as its core. This provides an interactive and intensive work-out in which participants learn basic business management principles by running a virtual venture in the training room.


The SAIE’s initial focus was to provide training materials for illiterate or semi-literate adults using the Best Game Simulation Tool as its core. This provides an interactive and intensive work-out in which participants learn basic business management principles by running a virtual venture in the training room.

All the SAIE’s materials are designed using the Action Learning and Experiential Discovery Learning methodologies and have been tried and tested since 1991. Through simulation of the real world, the SAIE training materials ensure that the mental stimulus of the class room approximates as closely as possible real life situations, but with considerable enhanced exposure to problem solving. The courses also promote the essential ability to apply forward planning, perhaps for the first time amongst entrepreneurs. Indeed the SAIE programme materials build learning layer by layer so that participants are not overwhelmed or threatened by the concepts confronting them. Each layer presents new challenges which are mastered before the next layer is revealed. Participants are forced to make planning choices which then inevitably play out in the simulation as consequences. Each of the teams start off at the same point with the same challenges and opportunities. They land up with very different results and are soon engaged in deep and passionate debate about how they made their choices and what they would do differently if they were able to replay their position. 
The core Business Simulation developed in 1991 consists of four core modules

Profiting from a Home Business.
Supply and Demand.
Reaching your customer.

The learning points build incrementally on each other and are continually reinforced with the running of each successive module. In addition to teaching a wealth of business-specific skills, the courses are very successful in emphasising important life-skills such as

The essential elements of good communication.
Negotiation and Compromise.



Small Business Development (Adults):


Best Game
   Bottom Line Basics
   Bottom Line Builder
   Starter Plan
   Micro Plan
   Master Plan
   Assess It

Agri Planner

In development:
 Agriculture:             AgriBest  /  AgriPlan-it  /  Organic Certification
 Tourism:                 Wings of Welcome (Tourism) 
 Small Business:     Craft Your Business  /  Crafters and small business capacity building

Education (Youth):


Business Ventures    :   Life Orientation – Foundation Phase -  Pop-up - Grade 2   /   Dream up - Grade 3
    GET – Economic & Management Sciences – Intermediate Phase 
    1Help Out - Grade 4  /  Look Out - Grade 5  /  Try Out - Grade 6
    GET – Economic & Management Sciences – Senior Phase 
    1Start Out - Grade 7  /  Sort Out - Grade 8  /  Break Out - Grade 9
    GET – Business Studies 
    1Team Up - Grade 10  /  Link Up - Grade 11  /  Work up - Grade 12

In development:

  School Curriculum Upgrade  /  Careers development  /  EntreprenHeroes

The Institute now has a comprehensive range of training materials for all sectors (production, manufacturing and retail) and all settings:  from 
- Urban to rural, 
- Illiterate and semi-literate skills training courses 
- Individuals developing their own micro-businesses,
- Graduates at business schools, 
- Corporates involved in employee intrapreneurship, 
- Retrenchment and/or retraining courses
- Small businesses or individual entrepreneurs seeking the skills and knowledge to develop   business plans and start new enterprises.

New courses are also being developed for the tourism sector and for crafters and other local producers.