Business school launches fund-raising campaign

TSIBA co-founder and chairperson Gia Whitehead in studio.

A Woodstock business school hopes to raise R50 million to build its own campus.

TSIBA Business School is an accredited not-for-profit higher education institution that offers undergraduate and postgraduate business qualifications. It was founded in 2004 by three women, including its chairwoman, Gia Whitehead.

It has provided more than 7 000 tuition scholarships to students from poor communities.

“Recognising that there were thousands of school leavers with nowhere to go, we identified a gap in the tertiary space creating access and supporting entrepreneurial leaders to study business. I wanted to do something real, meaningful and exciting,” Ms Whitehead said.

The school has now launched its Founders’ Gift campaign to raise the funds needed to build its own campus, and, to draw the attention of potential backers, it is producing a podcast series, Purpose-Lived, featuring industry speakers, from March to December.

The free podcasts will be available on TSIBA’s social-media sites, including Facebook and Instagram, and a podcast channel. Guests include Monika Jiang, head of content and community at the House of Beautiful Business; Simon Susman, honorary president of Woolworths Holdings Limited, who served as the chief executive officer and then chairman; and TSIBA co-founder and board member Leigh Meinert, who conceptualized TSIBA’s leadership curricula.

At TSIBA, all undergraduate students’ study on full or highly subsidised scholarships, removing financial barriers to quality tertiary education, Ms Whitehead said. No fees are required where household income is less than R350 000 a year.

Ms Whitehead said the school ran an annual project to attract, assess and recruit high school pupils from vulnerable communities.

“Beyond financial access, the pathway to tertiary education through academic bridging is core to the TSIBA approach to providing education as a catalyst to social justice,” she said.

Ms Whitehead said more than 90% of their degree graduates were employed or doing post-graduate studies, and TSIBA had produced eight Mandela Rhodes Scholars, three Kofi-Annan Fellows and five Alan Gray Orbis Foundation students.

TSIBA 2019 graduate Achmat Isaacs said he was grateful for the opportunity the institution had given him to study further and better his circumstances. He currently works as a retail operations specialist at Alan Gray.

“In the tough times that we are in today, TSIBA has really created a winning recipe with their scholarships. I am really grateful just knowing that I can provide for my family without the burden of debt on my shoulders,” he said.