FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE    6 December 2022


The Arts & Culture Trust Thuthukisani Programme Mentor nominated for Africa Startup Ecosystem Builders (ASEB) Awards Startup Mentor of the Year


The Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) Thuthukisani Programme is a business development programme to empower a selected group of artists and creative entrepreneurs to implement and execute their chosen projects in a strategic and sustainable way.


ACT Thuthukisani Programme mentor and facilitator and microenterprise specialist, Willem Gous and his business, The Human Entrepreneur are nominated in the Africa Startup Ecosystem Builders Summit & Awards in the category of Startup Mentor of the Year and Startup Incubator of the Year.


‘The Trust would like to congratulate Willem Gous on his recent well deserved nomination and we wish him well at the Awards Ceremony on 8 December. We are particularly proud that the excellent work done by Mr Gous with the ACT Thuthukisani Programme artists and arts business owners is being recognised,” says Jessica Denyschen, Interim CEO, Arts & Culture Trust who adds; “Under the mentorship of Mr Gous, ACT Thuthukisani Programme participants are pushed to propel their business development into sustainable income generatig activities with a long term focus.”


Arts business owners and registered independent artists based in Gauteng, the Free State and Western Cape are reminded that the Cycle 3 open call dates have been announced, with applications closing on 17 January 2023. Online applications are accessed at, and outcomes are expected to be announced in February 2023. Only projects with merit that can generate income will be eligible for potential investment.


Willem Gous says: “Being a finalist in the Africa Startup Ecosystem Builders Awards is an honour to be part of and a recognition of my 22 years of entrepreneurial experience across manufacturing, media, online and education. I can see how this experience plays out in the work with the Arts and Culture Trust and helping artists think, act and execute like entrepreneurs and execute successfully on creative projects. Thank you to the ASBEA as well as ACT for supporting me in helping Africa uncover tomorrow’s entrepreneurial talent in the creative industries.”


Training is provisionally scheduled to start at the end of February 2023. The three-month mentorship under Willem Gous takes place in a weekly, two-hour online group session with bi-weekly one-on-one sessions available.


It is also important for applicants to know that their proposed project plans and ideas will need to be further developed during the training sessions, and will need to be executed and generate income within 90 days if selected for investment.


Tobie Badenhorst, Head of Group Sponsorships and Cause Marketing at Nedbank, says: ‘Willem is the secret weapon in our ACT Thuthukisani Programme. People in the arts in every part of South Africa have to learn to run a business efficiently and make money in order to be sustainable and grow. Essential to this is Willem’s training sessions with the mentees in business entrepreneurialism and arts administration. These are not just the theory, he expects business results.’


As a business development course, this programme requires a significant commitment in terms of time and effort. Selected applicants will need discipline and excellent communication skills, and will be required to work with mentor, Willem Gous to develop their project plan. Acceptance into the programme does not guarantee monetary investment. Participants must strictly comply with and attend all training and mentorship sessions.


To keep in touch with the ACT, please visit their website, follow them on Twitter or like their Facebook page. ENDS


Over 28 years of arts support

The ACT is South Africa’s premier independent development and arts investment organisation. The primary aim of ACT is to increase the capacity for arts and culture initiatives to create sustainable futures, through development and investment in innovative, sustainable projects that make a meaningful contribution to society. Through structured development programmes, ACT provides support to all expressions of arts and culture, including literature, music, visual art, theatre and dance, and the support extends to festivals, community arts initiatives, arts management, arts education and arts administration. For more information, please visit the ACT website, follow them on Twitter or like their Facebook page.



In partnership with ACT, the Nedbank Arts Affinity has donated more than R28 million over 28 years to support over 830 arts, culture, and heritage development projects countrywide. If you would like to make a difference in the lives of talented young artists in South Africa, simply link your Nedbank Greenbacks to the Arts Affinity and Nedbank will donate money to ACT, at no cost to you. The Arts Affinity currently supports the ACT Nyoloha Scholarship Programme, the ACT Thuthukisani Programme, and the ACT Tlholo Project. For more information, visit any Nedbank branch, call us on 0860 555 111 or visit