our story


How do you facilitate the leap to active participation in the economy for those historically excluded? How do you invest in people in a way that they will pay-it-forward and reinvest into their communities? How do you enable ambitious young people to become the economic citizens and future business leaders we need to take South Africa forward?

Answer: You TSIBA.

Since opening its doors in 2004 TSIBA has always offered an innovative approach to accessing and financing quality business education. In addition to providing accredited qualifications to bridge the gap between secondary school and tertiary studies, the unique TSIBA scholarship model has enabled our undergraduate students to pay at relative levels of affordability, removing financial barriers to tertiary education. This is social justice in action and a deeply held commitment of TSIBA.

Access to education is however an entry point only. Inside TSIBA, our approach is to hold education as a catalyst for the best of what people can be. The core subjects which underpin excellent business education are necessary and provided in full here. But they are not sufficient.

TSIBA goes beyond by placing attitude, leadership and entrepreneurship as credit bearing subjects at the heart of all of our curricula. All graduates of TSIBA have deeply explored the questions of what is my work, what is success, and how do I add value. These are the questions we all must answer. The answers build each of our own unique stories and they build our citizenship. When this is achieved the outcomes are profound, especially in the communities where TSIBA proudly has its roots.

In 2004, Adri Marais, Gia Whitehead, Leigh Meinert and Graham Lashbrooke conceptualised and started a small university that pioneered groundbreaking changes for higher education in South Africa. Thes TSIBA founding visionaries, with seed capital provided by the Shuttleworth Foundation , challenged the reality that access to tertiary education at the time was unavailable to many talented young people in South Africa, as a consequence of financial or academic constraints.

TSIBA Education was started as a single entity not-for-profit tertiary education institution, offering a world-class degree in business administration at little to no cost to the students. Little would they have known that their small first campus, a warehouse in Mowbray with only 80 students, would grow into a social enterprise collective with supporters, academic collaborators and an alumni network that today reaches around the globe.

In 2006, TSIBA moved to Pinelands to our current campus next to Old Mutual. In the same year, TSIBA Education Trust was founded to complement and ensure sustainability for the work of TSIBA Business School. The year after, we expanded the offering and opened our own business accelerator and incubation hub, then called the Entrepreneurship Centre. This laid the foundation for what would eventually evolve into the TSIBA Ignition Academy in 2018, a for-profit entity dedicated to expanding the impact that TSIBA achieved and its long-term financial sustainability.

As a Business School, we celebrated our first graduating class in 2008, and among this cohort was our first Mandela Rhodes Scholar, Khanyisa Mtombeni. See our Prestigious awards here

Since inception, TSIBA’s offering has expanded to include a Bachelors of  Business Administration and a Higher Certificate in Business Administration (both accredited 2010), a Postgraduate Diploma in Small Enterprise Consulting (accredited 2013), learnerships, and accredited and online short courses.  

TSIBA also expanded internationally, founding a Friends of TSIBA Swiss Association and a Friends of TSIBA UK Trust to build international partnerships and support our work in South Africa. TSIBA is also a signatory to the United Nations Global (UN) Compact Initiative, PRiME, since 2017.

In 2017, Tinashe Munyiki became TSIBA’s 8th Mandela Rhodes Scholar in 8 years, following Khanyisa Mtombeni, Asanda Dodi, Siyaboga Gobinca, Thobela Mfeti, Thokozile Mcopele, Zikhona Ngumbela and Joseph Maisels.  Over this period, our graduates were also awarded three Kofi Annan Fellowships and three Allan Gray Orbis Foundation Fellowships.

TSIBA’s challenge to the status quo in 2004 was to give access to quality education to talented youth and to have a profound impact on their future. TSIBA still breaks the norm with a holistic offering that provides an inclusive, values-based learning community. This is an offering that goes to the very soul of education.