Partnered by the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture (DSAC), Business and Arts South Africa (BASA) will be taking 120 new and emerging creatives to market on 15 November with the launch of DEBUT ONLINE. The online showcase will profile the participants as well as provide a platform for audience to vote for them and much more.

The creatives are participants in BASA’s Debut programme, which focuses on enterprise development skills through knowledge and mentorship to prepare young creatives across the country for creative-sector entrepreneurship. Now in the second phase of the three-year programme, the artists are ready to launch their products and ideas into the market.

Mindful of Covid-19 uncertainty and the shift towards online spaces across all sectors, the launch will be digital, and the online portal will remain active beyond the launch as a marketplace. Each of the participating ‘artpreneurs’ will have their own profile on the DEBUT microsite, where visitors can see who they are, what they do, and explore the creative businesses they are launching. Visitors will also have a chance to vote for their favourite artist as a means of demonstrating support, investment and/or endorsement.

Says Boitumelo ‘Tumy’ Motsoatsoe, BASA Head of Programmes: “DEBUT ONLINE is both a space for the artists to make the vital move into the market, as well as a showcase of the diversity of talent and ideas emerging from young creatives across the whole of South Africa. We invite stakeholders in business and the arts to witness, engage and support the programme. We have worked hard to make the project inclusive of rural artists, so this moment of connecting them to the global digital ‘stage’ is of particular significance.”

Following the Hlanganisa phase, 18 participants will be selected to join the final Catalyst phase of the Programme, which is an intensive and personal mentorship experience. The top 18 will be announced in February 2022. All participants also gain automatic admission to the DEBUT Alumni Network, set to launch as part of the DEBUT ONLINE experience.

According to BASA CEO Ashraf Johaardien, “The launch of the Debut Programme and Alumni Network will facilitate continued relationship-building with the alumni of the programme through online engagements, training and other opportunities, further entrenching Debut’s mandate to provide sustained and sustainable support to creatives across South Africa.”

  • Debut Online launches on 15 November 2021 at 10am via Zoom. Register here

Notes to Editors

Launched in July 2020 as a joint initiative between the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture (DSAC) and Business and Arts South Africa NPC (BASA), the second iteration of the Debut programme sets out to transfer enterprise development skills to a carefully selected cohort of artists across all nine South African provinces. The programme aims to develop these artists to become resourceful, agile, and sustainable ‘artpreneurs’ who can make a profitable livelihood from their artistic talent. For more information, visit