January 27 2019

The Small Business Institute announces today that two top-rated South African economists and thought leaders are joining its board as part of SBI’s bid to strengthen its capacity to champion the voice of small business.

Simultaneously, SBI also unveils a new executive team with immediate effect.

In terms of the changes, respected businessman, mining executive and SBI director Sipho Nkosi assumes the role of chairman of the institute, and economists Lumkile Mondi and Thabi Leoka will join the board of SBI as non-executive directors.

Serial entrepreneur, mining magnate and former SBI chairman Bernard Swanepoel has agreed to head up a new executive team as SBI’s founding executive director. Former SBI director and financial communications professional Jennifer Cohen has been appointed as executive for policy and advocacy, and journalist and former newspaper editor John Dludlu joins SBI as executive for strategy and public affairs.

Of the appointments, Nkosi says: “I’m really pleased to welcome Thabi and Lumkile onto the Board of SBI, and I look forward to their immense contribution in our role as the big voice of the small business segment in our country. As well as their unimpeachable integrity, the pair brings a wealth of experience accumulated from years of service in both the private and public sector.”

He adds: “I should also take the opportunity to thank Bernard for his passion for the development and growth of small business, and for agreeing to invest more of his time as executive director of SBI. SBI owes Bernard a debt of gratitude for his commitment to the institute.”

The changes are part of the ongoing transformation of the SBI which began over a year ago, and follow the partnership with the leading research think-tank Small Business Project (SBP) under the leadership of small business expert Chris Darroll.

“These appointments signal our commitment to promoting the growth of small business through fact- and evidence-based policy making in our country. We are launching the next phase of our ground-breaking baseline study which we announced last year,” says Swanepoel.

“We look forward to joining hands and working with all role players in our country who are committed to the growth of this all-important but often poorly supported segment of our economy,” says Nkosi.

Notes to editors:

  • Lumkile, a PHD candidate, is senior lecturer at the School of Economics and Business Science at Wits University, his alma mater, from which he holds other degrees. Prior to joining academia, he served as deputy treasurer at Transnet and as chief economist at the Industrial Development Corporation. A regular economics contributor to the media, Lumkile also serves on boards of other companies, and has served on numerous advisory panels in the public sector.
  • Thabi, the 2017 winner of Absip Economist of the Year, has worked for various organizations in the financial sector. Last year, she was appointed by the Minister of Finance to serve on the VAT Panel to review the zero-rated products in order to support the poor and vulnerable in the country. Thabi, who holds a PHD in Economics from the University of London, is also a non-executive director of SA Express. She writes regularly for various publications here and abroad.

John Dludlu
SBI Executive for strategy and public affairs
+27 83 676 1881