South Africa has a wealth of young entrepreneurs who are paving the way for new businesses that are innovative, future-focused, and geared to address social needs.
From upscaling waste into useable products, to upskilling young South Africans, local start-ups have seen a gap in the market and are creating a space for their companies to grow and flourish, while still giving back to local communities, society, and encouraging a sustainable environment.
Here are six rising entrepreneurs and their businesses worth keeping an eye on:
Reabetswe Ngwane: Atyre
Reabetswe Ngwane is the co-founder of Atyre, a premium producer and retailer of eco-friendly handbags, using recycled tyres to make beautiful, sustainable fashion accessories. “We (Atyre) are committed to continually innovating the craft of bag making, to not only be ecologically friendly and sustainable, but also to be socially inclusive by working with local communities to eradicate poverty,” wrote Ngwane. Besides being one of Forbes Africa’s Top 30 Under 30 list in 2018, this young entrepreneur was also selected as one of News24’s 100 Young Mandela’s last year.
Dylan Evans & Andrew Forte: StellieTech
StellieTech is a blended learning computer training company that upskills individuals and companies in various computer programmes. Founded in 2014 by Dylan Evans and Andrew Forte, this tech start-up has already built an impressive portfolio of clients which includes Stellenbosch University, Le Creuset, SANSA, and Life Health Care among others. But at the heart of StellieTech lies social investment and the goal to make education accessible to everyone. The team recently partnered with a centre in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, to facilitate an “Introduction to computers” course for the youth in the community. They also run a “Sponsor a Student” campaign where for every R50 donated, they provide a student with an “Introduction to computer literacy” course.
Mikie Monoketsi: Mama’s Herbs & Spices
Mama’s Herbs & Spices is a range of herbal products that aims to provide quality and affordable herbs and spices to township communities. Founder Mikie Monoketsi is passionate about encouraging a health and fitness lifestyle and about how food can contribute to those goals. She realised there was a business opportunity in sharing this with local communities. To date, her best products are Mama’s Fat Stomach Teas, which is a range of herbal teas. Through Mama’s network marketing business model, Mikie has helped allowed other South Africans to trade their way out of poverty.
Zuko Tisani: Legazy Technology Conferencing
Zuko Tisani is the founder of Legazy Technology Conferencing. Tisani, recognising that start-ups need capital and access to markets, established Legazy to provide an investor marketing service on a local and international level.
“At Legazy, we honour those who want to change the world,” he said. “Our existence is to uplift the South African start-up ecosystem and not only be bystanders in the direction of the world in this fourth industrial revolution but to be part of the conversations; decision making and game-changing.” Last year, Tisani was featured on the 2018 Forbes Africa Top 30 Under 30 list and identified as one of Africa’s most promising young game-changers.
Juanita van der Merwe: Little green number
Little Green Number is a proudly South African social business that literally turns “ads into bags”. Co-founded by Juanita van der Merwe in 2011, the business recycles old billboards into new products, such as handbags, pencil bags, and backpacks while simultaneously creating sustainable jobs. They also have a #Buy1Give1 philosophy which means that for every Little Green Number bag someone buys, they donate a bag to a school child that needs one.
Aisha Pandor: SweepSouth
SweepSouth, an online platform connecting homeowners and domestic cleaners, was founded in 2014 by Aisha Pandor and her husband Alen Ribic. Their vision was to create a business that not only provided a reliable service for clients who need their homes cleaned, but that also generated jobs for experienced and skilled domestic workers. Five years down the line, SweepSouth is a success story in South Africa’s digital landscape and serves as an example to many others. The business received a R30 million investment in 2019 from Naspers Foundry – a early-stage business funding initiative that helps established, talented and ambitious South African technology entrepreneurs to take their businesses to the next level and thus creating more local jobs.
This post is sponsored by Naspers produced by Brandstudio24 for News24.