There’s no denying that the last few years have been challenging for the American economy. While there are still many obstacles to overcome, the entrepreneurial spirit in South Africa is as robust as ever. Get motivated by the tenacity and creativity of these young business owners.
Inventor of Mindjoy, Gabi Immelman
Mindjoy, an education technology startup founded by Gabi Immelman, is aimed at teaching children older eight and higher and is targeted at the fundamentals of computer programming. Mindjoy provides small groups with entertaining and interactive live simulated coding classes and online events.
Gabi had previously held positions in Silicon Valley, California, before launching Mindjoy in 2021. She has been listed on the Mail & Guardian’s Leading 200 Young South Africans review for 2022.
DreamGirls Academy by Ezlyn Barends
Ezlyn Barends, an entrepreneur and coach, co-founded DreamGirls Academy to help young women and girls. The goal is to help young women gain economic independence by providing them with mentorship, education, and financial aid for school.
Ezlyn has been recognised as one of the leading Creative South Africans in Business by FastCompany and one of the Top 200 Young South Africans by the Mail & Guardian.
It was Kim Whitaker, creator of Ubuntu Beds, who first put the two together.
Award for Business Innovator of the Year
To help connect first responders in need of a safe place to stay with hotels that are closed due to the lockdown, Kim Whitaker created Ubuntu Beds in 2020. Khwela Womxn was founded in part by Kim.
Asanda Maqabuka is a co-creator of the Yojo Food App.
Entrepreneur Asanda Maqabuka of Mthatha saw a gap in the market for expedited food delivery even during pandemic. During the lockdown, customers of restaurants, shisa nyamas, and other eateries could have their food brought to them by downloading the Yojo Food app that she developed.
Eat to Thrive’s Creator, Arabella Parkinson
Eat to Thrive was started by Arabella Parkinson to encourage people to have positive relationships with their food and to support the development of more sustainable food systems. She began giving online cooking classes to those who were stranded during the lockdown, with the goal of helping them prepare nutritious meals with only the supplies they had on hand.
Co-creator of the TAQA Digital Library, Qhawe Bula
Qhawe Bula, then a 2nd year Bachelor of Social Sciences student, in 2020 developed TAQA, a digital collection of read-along children’s books in all eleven official languages. According to Bula, the goal is to promote a love of reading among young children while also honouring African cultures.
Mariam Manack – creator of iTrain
iTrain was founded by Mariam Manack, a loud and proud South African trend for women that promotes fitness and strength as means of achieving personal empowerment. Mariam holds a bachelor’s degree in Sports Science and was designated one of Forbes top 30 Under 30 in 2019.
Theo Baloyi Inventor of the popular shoe brand Bathu
Theo Baloyi established Bathu Shoes, South Africa’s first black-owned sneaker brand. The scene of Baloyi’s vision opened in the basement of his uncle’s house in District. There are now 16 brick-and-mortar locations and an online store for the brand in South Africa.
Cameron Naidoo (Guerilla)
AmaMeme, a South African meme platform, was founded in 2020 and is the brainchild of Cameron Naidoo and his company, Guerilla, a creative agency. Both individuals and businesses can benefit greatly from utilising reaction GIFS and images on social media. AmaMeme features only original content and memes from South Africa.
Mokae, Lesego, co-founded Ditsogo Projects
Lesego Mokae founded the company Ditsogo Projects in her Rustenburg garage. Ditsogo Projects, which focuses on metal fabrication, is owned and operated solely by women of African descent. Lesego plans to implement internship and traineeship schemes at her company in the future.
Sky Tents South Africa founded by Isaac Mbatha
Sky Tents SA was started by and is currently led by Isaac Mbatha. Stretch tents and pagoda tents are just two of the many types of tents that this business produces and sells. In 2019, he attended the Forbes Under 30 Summit as a representative of Africa.
Interior Bubble started by Kgahlego Rasebotsa
Kgahlego Rasebotsa started the Limpopo-based interior design firm Interior Bubble and serves as its CEO. She launched her company with nothing more than some throw pillows and quickly expanded to employ eight people. In 2019, she was included in Forbes Africa’s 30 Under 30 list.
My Africa Lap Desk was created by Lizl Naude
The creator of Lilly Loompa repurposed homeware, Lizl Naude, used a piece of scrap wood to craft a one-of-a-kind piece of furniture during a lockdown. The idea for the My Africa Lap Desk—a sustainable, handmade, and transportable desk for the modern remote worker—emerged.
Stempath Labs was founded by Calvin Pokgwadi
When Calvin Pokgwadi saw a need for more accessible medical care in low-income areas, he decided to start Stempath Labs. When it comes to pathology, rural areas can rely on Stempath. Although his industry is fiercely competitive, he has seen steady growth since opening his first location in 2015.
Double Apex Founded By Sudhir Matai
Sudhir has a long history in the auto sector and after being retrenched as the editor of a leading car magazine he started DoubleApex.co.za. “As a side project to help pay for our own race gear, Double Apex began as a clothing line for petrolheads, but it has since expanded to include this automotive resource.”