SA’s Top 10 young entrepreneurs to watch
Young business leaders are becoming the role models of a new generation as entrepreneurship continues to be integral to the fast growth of the SA economy
The South African government recently introduced the Department of Small Business Development to oversee growth and development in the small businesses sector under the leadership of Lindiwe Zulu. It’s not just old-established names, who are trying to benefit from this new initiative but a lot of promising young blood coming to the fore as well.
We take a look at some of the country’s young entrepreneurs who have seized opportunities and have taken over leadership in SA’s growing business landscape.
Time Magazine named him one of the “Top 30 under 30 people that are changing the world” in 2013. Having invented “DryBath” at the age of 17 – a product set to revolutionise sanitation in impoverished areas – Marishane is the founder of Headboy Industries. He is so dedicated to his product that Marishane was quick to file patent and thus became South Africa’s youngest patent filer. Marishane was rated the best student entrepreneur in the world at the Global Champion of the Global Student Entrepreneurs Awards in 2011. All this led Google to name him as one of the 12 brightest young minds in the world in 2011 as well. This young innovator holds a Bachelor of Business Science, majoring in Finance & Accounting, from the University of Cape Town.
Alongside his brother Lonwabo, Luvuyo founded Silulo Ulutho Technologies – a company servicing youth and adults in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape provinces, equipping them with much-needed computer skills. The company’s overall vision is to empower all African citizens to become part of the digital community. This dynamic duo initially ran their business from a boot of their car. Since then, Rani has been nominated for an award at the Junior Chamber International Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World (JCI TOYP) in Germany, ten years after he had started his company, which honours ten outstanding young people under the age of 40 each year.
Ezlyn is the Managing Director of Dad Fund, a non-profit organisation with a purpose of shaping the future of young leaders in South Africa. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Entrepreneurship & Marketing and a Higher Diploma in Marketing Communications. Currently based in the United Kingdom and doing her MBA at the Henley Business School, Barends has recently been named one of the the Mail&Guardian 200 Young South Africans for 2014.
Xusa is an example of the high calibre of scientists South Africa needs. This young South African scientist has had NASA name a planet after him, in honour of his work in developing a record-breaking rocket and creating safer, more energy-efficient rocket fuel. The 25-year-old from Mthatha in the Eastern Cape is currently studying at Harvard University in the US in a bid to develop new energy technology, which he hopes will in turn help the planet.
Nick saw an opportunity creating in street-wear, and his idea bore fruits when his company “Head Honcho” was launched in 2011. “Head Honcho” is a street-wear brand that emerged from the streets of Cape Town. The brand’s name implies that the clothing is made for people who aspire to be tomorrow’s moguls, leaders and achievers. Their apparel is stocked up by major retailers and is featured notably at youth themed events around the country.
Ditshego is the chief executive officer of Ditshego Media, a black-owned public relations company. He has recently been listed by Forbes Magazine as one of the Top 30 Entrepreneurs Under 30 for 2014. His client list includes O.R. Tambo International Airport, Vodacom and Justine amongst others.
Rabana is a co-founder of Yeigo Communications, a major software company based in Cape Town. She co-founded the business alongside Wilter du Toit and Lungisa Matshoda shortly after completing her studies at the University of Cape Town in 2005. Amongst some of her accolades Rapelang was selected as a Global Shaper by the World Economic Forum and was invited to join the Annual Meeting in Davos 2012.She is also an Ambassador and Juror for the United Nations World Youth Summit Awards, and to top it all up she was also listed by Forbes on 30 under 30 – Africa’s Best Young Entrepreneurs.
Liebmann is a property entrepreneur and is behind the famous Maboneng Precinct, which is reviving the City of Johanneburg to its former glory. With several buildings running under his name one cannot help but think that he is fast becoming the Donald Trump of South Africa.
A passionate social entrepreneur Malatjie was born 1991 in the rural area of Molati in Limpopo. Malatjie is the founder of the Diepsloot Youth Projects. It was the love of his township and the passion for youth empowerment that led this young entrepreneur to start a youth organisation, which assists youth to find employment equipping them with skills for the workplace. Since the tender age of 11 Malatjie has always been helping children and youth, as he continues to devote his time to changing the state of his community.