To celebrate South African Women’s Day, we’re looking at 10 female entrepreneurs from South Africa and how they achieved success. Many are inspired by their families, but all of them have succeeded through hard work and sheer talent.
When women are empowered and able to implement their ideas on a business landscape, some truly wonderful things happen.
South African Female Entrepreneurs
- Farah Fortune, African Star Communications
Fortune didn’t have much look when she first started out, after taking the bold step to leave her job and begin this company. Times were particularly tough when she first started out with a young daughter to support.
Yet it seems Fortune was eventually favoured for being brave: Her African Star Communications network made a name for itself by giving platforms to previously unrecognised talents (Loyiso Gola, Jason Goliath).
Her ‘build from the ground up approach’ has paid dividends for her, and Farah is continuing to flourish in the job she risked everything for
- Lize Fouce, Number 1 Foods
Her muesli-based food company started up shortly after she gave birth to her baby girl. Fouce threw her last few thousand rand at a steel roasting drum to deal with the demand for her snacks.
The drum created a unique flavour in the muesli, which gave her organisation a new unique selling point. The roasted version was an instant hit, with her Nutri-Start product available in Pick N Pay stores nationwide.
- Vanessa Gounden, HolGoun Investment Holdings
Vanessa has taken a seriously hands-on approach to her investment business, which has been up and running since 2003: The company only invests in outfits that they can directly help grow and develop.
For the last 14 years, Gounden has acquired a diverse portfolio of businesses, with partnerships in mining, healthcare, property and media. Holgoun currently has a net worth of R3bn. That is unbelievable, take a bow Vanessa!
- Angel Jones, Homecoming Revolution
Another company that began in 2003, Jones set up a network aimed at headhunting African talent currently working abroad. Homecoming Revolution have thrived over the last decade, and their M.O shows how they’ve cracked a gap in the market:
“as a website to tell the stories of people who have come home – the good bits and the bad. You’re not a failure if you come back; you’re a pioneer, entrepreneur and revolutionary, and look at all these amazing things that are possible. Don’t wait till it gets better, come home and make it better.”
- Sonia Booth, Bonneventia S Footwear
She founded Bonneventia S Footwear and manufactures her shoes in Johannesburg. Local designer Thula Sindi has even used Sonia’s shoes in his shows and more local designers are following suit.
Her business has grown into successful enterprise. Booth now offers her customer pedicures while they wait for their custom made shoes to be made
- Nicole Stephens, The Recruitment Agency
Nicole is leading something of a revolution with her recruitment business. The savvy entrepreneur solely employs four women on flexitime and they also have no head office or basic salary – they are utterly fluid.
They’ve used the technology at their disposal flawlessly and it has created a sustainable, impressive business model that will be the envy of many. They can all conduct their operations through Skype, WhatsApp and E-mail. It’s incredibly futuristic!
- Nkhensani Nkosi, Stoned Cherrie
Since she launched the fashion enterprise in 2000, Nkosi has showcased her range at New York Fashion Week. Recently, Stoned Cherrie introduced the beautiful talents from New York-based South African designer Darryl Jagga.
Stoned Cherrie continues to grow and has recently expanded into eyewear – a firm favourite of several African and international icons, including South Africa’s pop singer, Lira.
- Amy Kleinhans-Curd, PLP Group
PLP Group (Pty) Ltd is a diversified services company that provides brand enhancement and stakeholder engagement solutions to clients across Africa and the rest of the world.
The former Miss South Africa has proved she is equally smart as she is beautiful, and has been operating in business for the last 24 years. As a successful mom-of-four, her remarkable career makes her look like a very humble superwoman.
- Michelle Okafor, Michelle Okafor African Designs
“Today, her distinctive and colourful designs can be found in boutiques and in her online store. Okafor’s collection includes everything from dresses to jackets, shoes and accessories. Her vision to combine traditional African culture with urbanity can clearly be seen in every piece.”
- Basetsana Kumalo, Tswelopele Group
Aged just 20, Kumalo negotiated the first external contract SABC handed out to an all female production company when Tswelopele Productions – who she owns a 50% stake in – took on the responsibility of making Top Billing. The rest is history…
She’s gone on to launch an empire of make-up, clothing and sunglasses as well as ventures into mining and property businesses.
via The South Africa