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Our Story

About Us

Investing In People Since 2004

TSIBA is a unique social enterprise collective that has invested successfully in ambitious youth since 2004. The TSIBA collective includes a Business School, Ignition Academy and Education Trust working together to return highly sought after people and successful small business enterprises.

Since 2018 The TSIBA Ignition Academy has been building on and supporting the work started by the TSIBA Business School as a strategic implementing partner to Corporates, Philantropic Organisations and the Public Sector. We provide structured credit bearing, as well as non-credit bearing qualifications, customisable development and training solutions, consulting and management services including:

Employed and Unemployed Learnerships

Customisable Short Learning Programmes

Leadership and IT Short Courses / Webinars / Workshops

Business Advisory Courses

Bespoke Enterprise Development Project and Programmes

TSIBA aims to drive social change. Whilst offering formal qualifications, we always integrate Leadership and Self Development courses into the curriculum, producing graduates who are productive, purpose-driven citizens in the workplace and in the world. We bring this thinking into all our programs at all levels, whether tertiary, entrepreneurship or vocational training.

Our students deeply engage with ‘self’, honing and developing ‘agency’, or the ability to determine one’s own actions. Engaging with concepts like  initiative, resilience, curiosity and systems savvy helps answer guiding questions such as “Who Am I?”, “What is my Purpose?” and “How can we be successful?”. 

About Us

We Collaborate

Our business philosophy is to remain a small and agile core team, capacitating as required by outsourcing or insourcing fit-for-purpose project teams. We believe in collaboration and are happy to count the following like-minded organisations as ‘Partners in Success’:

About Us

Pick A Winning Team

Karien Cloete

Executive Member, ex-officio as the CEO of TSIBA Ignition Academy

Karien was born in Gauteng. She started her career in HR and Recruitment, decided to change direction in order to follow a dream of working in TV production and, in another 180 degree career pivot, held Exco positions in both Operations and Business Development in the ICT sector for 7 years until she joined TSIBA in 2016. She holds an undergraduate degree from UNISA with Contract Law and Language majors, as well as an Advanced Diploma in Labour Law.

“I have a great passion for contributing both operationally and strategically to the growth of SMEs, and am grateful to be living this purpose in my work”

Ross Faragher-Thomas

Non-Executive Member

Ross is the Board Chair of TSIBA Ignition Academy. He has spent almost twenty years leading Virgin Active South Africa and was instrumental in spearheading its expansion and growth within the health and wellness sector. He has worked closely with long-term branded investors such as the Virgin Group and various private equity and investment holding firms, which completes a valuable set of skills and insights. He is now applying these skills to assist in the growth of companies within the Capitalworks portfolio.

Gia Whitehead

Founding Director, TSiBA Education

Gia Whitehead is a founding director of TSiBA Education, which begun in 2004 and opened doors for its first students in Cape Town in 2005. She currently holds the role of CEO at the TSIBA Business School. Along with fellow directors she is responsible for innovation and replicability of the TSiBA model; operations; marketing; entrepreneurship; curriculum design, website design and of course student development. She also consults other NGO’s on strategy, fundraising, BBBEE and business implementation. Gia also has experience running “for-profit” businesses. 

She previously represented TSiBA on the Board of JP Morgan Chase through an Empowerment Deal, and was on the Board/Trustee of Lucca Leadership South Africa. She has a Bachelor of Information Technology and completed her Postgraduate studies in Enterprise Management at UCT. She has worked for CIDA City Campus managing strategic projects and funding. Gia was recognized as one of South Africa’s 100 Brightest Young Minds in 2002. Gia was awarded Top Women Entrepreneur of the Year 2012 (Topco Media).

Kieno Kammies

Non-Executive Member

Kieno has been a commercial talk show host and music radio presenter with more than 20 years in the broadcast industry, developing good networks and personal relationships of value. This forms the cornerstone of his consulting business KK Strategic, the primary aim of which is to build bridges between big business and SMMEs, and to demystify the role of AI in the world today.

Juan Smith

Operations Manager

Juan Smith is an Operations Manager at TSIBA Ignition Academy. He joined the organization in 2017 as a program coordinator for the vocationally-based Business Administration certificate program at the TSIBA Eden Campus in Knysna. In 2018, Juan played an instrumental role in the development of the various learnership programs that formed part of the newly established TSIBA Ignition Academy product offering.

Juan’s academic qualifications include a BA in Psychology and a BAHons in Theology, both from the University of Pretoria. Prior to his work with TSIBA, Juan served as a Minister of Religion in the Methodist Church of Southern Africa until 2013, after which he transitioned to become an Education, Training, and Development Practitioner. From 2013 to 2016, Juan worked at the SA Maritime College before joining the TSIBA family.

With a passion for people and their potential, Juan is committed to helping others achieve their goals and dreams. Having worked extensively within impoverished communities in Ekhuruleni, Cape Town, and Ethewini, Juan understands the importance of youth development, education, and training, as well as social justice. His personal and professional values motivate him to guide and empower individuals to find meaning and value in their lives.

Jasmiena Latief

Skills Development

Jasmiena has worked in the Skills Development and Academic space for more than 20 years. Throughout the span of her career, she has spent time developing course material and curricula, guiding and supporting learners, and facilitating the transfer of knowledge in the classroom. Coupled with training, lecturing and facilitation, she also performs quality assurance roles and is a registered Assessor and Moderator for various SETAs including the Services Seta, ETDP Seta and MICT Seta. In her current role as Training Lead at the TSIBA Ignition Academy, she manages the implementation of all skills development projects delivered by TSIBA Ignition Academy which including Learnerships and Short Skills Programmes.

Elsa Marman

Skills Development Facilitator and Learner Liaison

Elsa Marman is a Skills Development Facilitator and the Learner Liaison at TSIBA Ignition Academy.

She is fiercely passionate about empowering all lives through education and entrepreneurship. “I grew up in Elsies River; a poverty, substance abuse and violence infested community where having a career and good education is rare. These unfortunate circumstances and the trauma I incurred during my childhood was my greatest motivation to strive for the best and to be an example of true leadership to not only my family but also my community. I continue ploughing back into the young lives in my community by participating in various community development projects with the dream and goal to one day open up a TSIBA Ignition Academy training and development hub in Elsies River.”

Tanya de Gouveia

Enterprise Supplier and Development Project Lead

Tanya is the Enterprise Supplier and Development Project Lead for our Business Essentials Programme. Tanya is passionate about social impact at large, specifically being part of organisations and projects where education and opportunities are made accessible to deserving individuals. “My studies in Psychology and Communications have enabled me to exercise my genuine passion and care for people with my project management strengths and skills”. Her experience in project managing various social impact projects across industries has allowed her the opportunity to pave a career that merges her commitment to her values with her curiosity for Corporate Social Responsibility in South Africa.

Katleho Macheke

Office Administrator

Katleho is a dynamic and ambitious individual who is passionate about empowering and uplifting South Africa’s youth.

“Through my work and personal endeavours, I remain committed to creating positive change in South Africa and empowering the next generation of leaders. I thrive to be a true embodiment of the TSIBA values of purpose-driven leadership, entrepreneurship, and social responsibility.”

Michelle Mahlwele

Junior Systems Administrator

Michelle’s journey with TSIBA Ignition Academy started in 2022 as a hosted Business Analysis Learner and her talent led to an offer to join our growing eLearning team.

“I strongly believe that everyone should have a chance to learn, and I’m proud to help a company that’s striving to make education attainable for deserving people.I have a national diploma in IT: Multimedia from Tshwane University of Technology, and I see technology as a tool that can bring change for good. As a Junior System Administrator, I’m focused on looking after the inner workings that drive our programs, making sure both learners and teachers have a smooth experience.”

Thabit Samodien

Instructional Designer

As a qualified Graphic Designer, Thabit has worked and specialised in the field of e-learning for the past 16+ years. His extensive work in the field has granted him the opportunity to lead teams in crafting immersive online courses, and designing innovative and effective digital learning solutions.

“With the mindset that e-learning should be accessible to all regardless of background or abilities, I strive to ensure that the learning journey for each student will be a unique experience that will add value and give them the tools needed to help shape their future.”