Entrepreneurship in South Africa

2012-09-24 12:00

Since I work in the entrepreneurial space in South Africa, I get to meet all kinds of people starting up all kinds of businesses. I find that being a tech and digital (mobile, Internet, etc) entrepreneur myself, I often miss out on meeting other types of business founders. So I make an effort to attend other start-up events, such as young social entrepreneurship, franchising and brick-and-mortar businesses.

Here are just some of the myriad of entrepreneurial stories out there, right on our doorstep, together with some lessons we can learn from them.

Ludwick Marishane

I've never met Ludwick, but him and his product DryBath™ are now known in South Africa and even in international circles. He had a string of less successful products and business ideas, until he hit the idea of inventing a soap that didn't require water. Naturally in many countries where water is scarce, this is an incredible discovery. Since then he has been contacted by numerous multinational companies. He is finishing a business degree at UCT and plans to expand his business once he's done. Not only that, but he recently won an award: Best Student Entrepreneur in the World 2011 award.

This is exactly the kind of guy South Africa needs and someone who should be invited to speak to students and scholars alike, to get young people thinking about starting their own businesses. South Africa desperately requires a larger component of entrepreneurship in its economy. The lesson? It's never too early and you are never too young to start your business.

Lesley Williams

The Hub is a global network of spaces set aside specifically for entrepreneurs. Its Johannesburg arm is run by Lesley and she recently also took the title of Director for the global organisation as a whole while in the US last year. Lesley firmly believes it is her goal to open up places for entrepreneurs to realise their full potential.

She is probably one of the top social entrepreneurship leaders in South Africa, well connected in the sphere and has been chosen often to represent us all over the globe, even on a BP climate change expedition to Antarctica. If you've got a business idea and need a creative space and mentoring area for your start-up, The Hub Johannesburg is just the co-working space for social innovators and entrepreneurs that you need.

The point to learn from Lesley is that there are so many other entrepreneurs around you, and by connecting with them you can achieve your goals much quicker.

Juanita Jacobs and Kerry Bee

These two entrepreneurs left their jobs to start an online liquor store and super-fast delivery service called eBooze.co.za. In short, they sell wine and beer online and deliver it in under 60 minutes! But on the way, they came up against massive difficulties, liquor licence challenges and a very incompetent website development service.

Why do I include them here? Because they are a testament to the way an entrepreneur never gives up on their idea until all is lost. Even when faced with incredible obstacles, Juanita and Kerry pushed on and found a way to provide stunning service along the way. The result: They have never delivered late, and their business is booming.

A positive outlook

When one looks across the different industries in South Africa, you'll find entrepreneurship and start-ups in every one of them. South Africa really wants new businesses, these drive not only the economy, but generate jobs and bring better products and services to the consumer.

Have you got an entrepreneurship story to share?

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