My Queue

There are no Videos in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any video to save to your queue.

There are no Articles in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any article to save to your queue.

There are no Podcasts in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any podcast episode to save to your queue.

You're not following any authors.

Click the Follow button on any author page to keep up with the latest content from your favorite authors.

Women Entrepreneurs

Watch List: 50 Top SA Business Women To Watch

Don't miss out on these 50 female trailblazers making an impact in the South African and international entrepreneurial space.
Watch List: 50 Top SA Business Women To Watch
Image credit: BigStock
Entrepreneur Staff
Sales Enablement - Content Developer
15+ min read

You're reading Entrepreneur South Africa, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

Here are the 50 top South African business women to watch in no particular order

“Globally, women entrepreneurship rates are growing more than 10% each year. In fact, women are as likely or more likely than men to start businesses in many markets,” says Karen Quintos, EVP and chief customer officer at Dell.

The growing momentum of female entrepreneurship can clearly be seen in this comprehensive list of 50 of South Africa’s finest. Although this movement has far from reached its peak, for those looking for inspiration, lessons or businesses to invest in, look no further than this list of female pioneers.

1. Anastasia Dobson-du Toit and Michelle Dateling

Vital Stats

Up-and-coming

These two co-founders met while studying for their MBA’s. Initially, there were six women who wanted to start a business together, but ultimately only Dobson-du Toit and Dateling forged ahead with a plan of action to make the business a reality.

Watch this space

Despite launching in an incredibly competitive and heavily regulated industry; pharmaceuticals, 2 years later their business is consistently achieving impressive growth.

“When we launched the company, we knew that we wanted it to be a South African business — that the money should stay in the country and stimulate the economy here. However, we also realised that we didn’t have to manufacture ourselves in order to accomplish this.

There are plenty of South African businesses with the necessary capacity, just hoping for the business. So, we focus on the development and branding, which is where our strengths lie and contracting the rest out,” says Dobson-du Toit.

2. Charlotte Aubin

Vital Stats

Up-and-coming

Charlotte Aubin started out life as an international investment banker, but she wanted to dedicate her time and expertise to making a positive social and environmental impact.

Watch this space

“We are pioneers of solar energy on the continent,” says Aubin. “We combine international and local networks, technical, financial and contractual expertise with a massive transformative purpose of accelerating social and economic development in Africa by bringing access to power.”

Aubin says that she wants GreenWish to be the leading transformative independent clean power producer in Africa. They want to accelerate electrification and its various productive uses, such as clean power solutions for governments, assisting the private sector and populations.

3. Rapelang Rabana

Vital Stats

Up-and-coming

Rapelang Rabana is an entrepreneur and investor who was voted the Entrepreneur for the World by the World Entrepreneurship Forum in 2014. She has also Established herself as a popular and insightful speaker through the Unique Speaker Bureau (USB). In March 2017, she was named one of the 100 Young Global Leaders list by the World Economic Forum.

Watch this space

Rabana says that she hopes in the next 10 years to see Rekindle Learning at the core of learning and enabling people to grow their knowledge. She hopes to help everyone, from school children, to entrepreneurs to farmers.

“I believe that in 10 years one of the greatest drivers of data usage on the continent will not just be entertainment and social media, but educational, training and learning content, and I want Rekindle Learning to be at the crux of that,” says Rabana.

4. Lynn Baker

Vital Stats

Up-and-coming

Shortly after founding her new business Lynn Baker attended a Disney Quality Service course. She valued the course so highly that she implemented many of the Disney Customer Service philosophies into her business. Her business, Executive Presence focuses on customer experiences and building an executive presence.

Watch this space

Trying to improve customer experience created the space for businesses such as Uber and Airbnb to flourish. Baker’s entire business is based in customer experience, placing her in the strategic position to assist numerous businesses in disrupting their industries.

“Where do you and I start to create a better customer experience strategy? We need to shift our thinking and challenge our mind-sets. More importantly, we need to recognise that this is happening in a completely new landscape,” explains Baker.

5. Dylan Kohlstädt

Vital Stats

Up-and-coming

Dylan Kohlstädt started her business at her kitchen table, then grew to run her team from the Garage co-working space. The business continue to grow and took offices at the Barn, only to relocate to their current offices by the sea at Eden on the Bay. Shift One Marketing has experienced consistent growth, in a very short space of time, and is set to continue to achieve success.

Watch this space

Kohlstädt graduated top of her class from the VeloCiTi Y incubation programme, sponsored by the Bandwidth Barn, and was also fortunate to attend a two week Blackbox.VC immersion programme in Silicon Valley, sponsored by Google for Entrepreneurs.

She was also recently nominated in the National Gazelles programme for 2016, and is an award winner in the NSBC Small Business Awards for 2016.

6. Noli Mini

Vital Stats

Up-and-coming

Noli Mini began her entrepreneurial journey as a mobile spa therapist, visiting various hotels to offer spa treatments. Since then, Mini has evolved her concept and now has bases including two spa suites, at hotels and guest houses.

Watch this space

As though this wasn’t enough, in addition Mini has expanded her clientele by catering to corporate offices, as well as developing a custom range of massage oils and her own brand of beauty and skincare products. In case you thought she would settle for a profitable and success business, she is also launching a beauty and spa training institute.

7. Stacey Brewer

Vital Stats

Up-and-coming

Stacey Brewer is behind the disruptive education business model of SPARK Schools. She has attracted so much investor interest that she managed to raise R4.5 million in her first round of funding.

Watch this space

After she launched her low-fee private school model she received another R28 million from the Pearson Group’s Affordable Learning Fund. In her Series B round of funding, she raised R150 million in 2016, Establishing SPARK’s overall funding at R200 million, in 4 years.

But, Brewer isn’t done yet, “we’ve committed to having 20 schools by 2019, which will enable us to educate 12 000 children,” she says. From launch to 20 schools in 6 years, what will this business woman do next?

8. Nonkuthalo Thithi

Vital Stats

Up-and-coming

After working for multiple magazines, Nonkuthalo Thithi noticed a gap in the market. The most read articles were those that gave readers fashion tips, how to go from office to drinks with friends, or how to incorporate trends into an existing wardrobe.

Watch this space

“I wanted to help men and women equip themselves so that they make more informed style decisions. It starts with how you want to look or be perceived by others, then you can start to build a wardrobe from there,” says Thithi.

She looks forward to continued growth in her business, and would like to see Styled to a T become an authoritative voice in the styling industry, and among other entrepreneurs. “We are all able to look our absolute best with the right tools and understanding of ourselves,” says Thithi.

9. Daniella Shapiro

Vital Stats

Up-and-coming

Daniella Shapiro recently launched Oolala Collection Club, an e-commerce proudly South African skincare, beauty and lifestyle platform, and it’s already making waves.

Watch this space

Thanks to her background in marketing, Shapiro is using her prior experience to boost her start-ups profile and ensure its success. “The Oolala Collection Club is all about affordable luxury and cruelty-free beauty. These causes help position the brand strategically by communicating a clear message that the consumer can resonate with. This will automatically encourage and drives positive change,” explains Shapiro.

10. Xoliswa Daku

Vital Stats

Up-and-coming

Xoliswa Daku started out her business journey as a corporate lawyer, but she had an affinity for property so she decided to launch her own property development business. But it wasn’t all smooth sailing. Daku was so focused on cash flow that she would offer clients everything and anything to keep their business.

Watch this space

“The problem was that it diluted our brand. We had grown to a business with an R18 million turnover, and people were constantly asking me what it was that we actually did. I realised my entire business model was reactive, rather than proactive, and it was entirely my fault. I had no chance of growing a large business if we didn’t focus on our core areas.”

Daku learnt this hard lesson, has focused her business’ offering and is experiencing strong growth.

11. Lorren Barham

Vital Stats

Up-and-coming

Lorren Barham started a business that offers rehabilitative care for pets, because the business is so niche she has seen fantastic growth over the last three years. Barham identified a relatively unexploited niche and owned it.

Watch this space

Barham started out as a personal assistant, while doing this she furthered her education by taking bookkeeping and business administration courses. She’s always had a passion for animals and when her pets needed rehabilitation she realised there was a growing need for this type of business.

Now, her business has developed a solid track record. “I could show vets the improvement brought on by our rehab work, we started getting more and more clients. I truly ascribe a lot of our recent success to the fact that the vets embraced us,” explains Barham.

12. Allegro Dinkwanyane

Vital Stats

Up-and-coming

Allegro Dinkwanyane started her company at just 21, after obtaining her degree in journalism. “My plan was always to get the degree and then be self-employed, I had no plans to work for anyone else, in fact I have never submitted a CV in my life,” she says.

Watch this space

She started out as an entertainment blog, specialising in brand management, while also producing social media marketing and public relation campaigns. Her business now represents South African celebrities such as Donald Moatshe, Siya Mdlalose and Paledi Segapo, as well as corporate clients such as Avon South Africa and Africa Fashion Week Nigeria.

Dinkwanyane made the Forbes 30 under 30 list in 2017, and continues to make waves in her industry.

13. Nadia Rawjee and Zahra Rawjee

Vital Stats

Up-and-coming

“We realised what an impact government and developmental funding could have had on the family business, but like so many SMEs, it never accessed the funds available,” says Zahra Rawjee. So they launched their business to help SME’s navigate the application process of government and developmental funding.

Watch this space

Nadia Rawjee and Zahra Rawjee know the details of each of the various government and developmental funds, as well as their prospects and how much capital they’ll really need for their expansion plans. This experience allows the Rawjee sisters to advise businesses which fund to apply for, how to apply and how much money they should be asking for.

14. Karen Carr and Hanneke Schutte

Vital Stats

Up-and-coming

Karen Carr and Hanneke Schutte launched Benji + Moon on a Sunday afternoon with a vision board. They realised they had a shared love for pets and a mutual ‘peeve’ of having to hide hideous pet bowls and beds when friends came over.

Watch this space

This passion project has developed into a successful business, which gives 5% of every purchase to CLAW (Community Led Animal Welfare). These two successful entrepreneurs are planning to expand their business internationally, to increase their reach and their contributions to CLAW.

“We've also learnt that we've taken Benji + Moon as far as we can without help and learnt that we need to ask for it. The learning curve has been steep and continual but we're the total cliché of doing what we love,” says Carr.

15. Michelle Royston

Vital Stats

  • Business: WAXIT
  • Business Est: 2015

Up-and-coming

Michelle Royston used to work in a deadline-driven retail environment, which made it difficult to book appointments ahead of schedule.

“I’d suddenly have a weekend open which meant I could finally get a wax or my nails done, except everyone was fully booked. After calling ten salons I’d end up in a little corner of a salon, squeezed behind a curtain because waxing wasn’t their focus, getting a painful, unprofessional and often unhygienic wax,” says Royston.

Watch this space

She realised there was a market for busy professionals who could only make appointments at the last minute or needed an appointment outside of normal office hours.

Michelle Royston launched her business in 2015, two years later she had four salons, and the growth hasn’t stop since.

16. Donna Silver and Elvira Riccardi

Vital Stats

  • Business: Afrizan
  • Business Est: 2001

Up-and-coming

From 2001 to 2007, Afrizan’s turnover was R12 – R15 million. Today, the group as a whole is a R150 million business. This happened because Donna Silver and Elvira Riccardi focused on a niche.

Watch this space

“For us, we recognised that South Africa needed a recruitment agency that specialises in affirmative action. This wasn’t driven by altruistic or political motivations — it’s an economic imperative,” says Riccardi.

This business has grown from strength-to-strength within Persaf Holdings. It was a steep learning curve, but now they have the valuable insights into how a business can get the most out of their people. “If we’re going to grow South Africa’s economy, we need to see bottom-up transformations. If we transform South Africa’s workforce, we will transform the economy,” explains Riccardi.

17. Magda Wierzycka

Vital Stats

  • Business: Sygnia
  • Business Est: 2012

Up-and-coming

Magda Wierzycka has seen a meteoric rise with her business Sygnia Asset Management. Supporting herself from 18, working in an exotic variety of places and roles, and travelling extensively, gave Wierzycka just the experiences she needed to create this disruptive business.

Watch this space

After just six years in operation Sygnia has R184 billion in assets under management and administration, R14 billion in unit trusts since launch in 2012, and over 600 institutional clients and over 6000 individual clients. This business is already on its way to becoming an excellent contender in the financial sector.

18. Jennifer Da Mata

Vital Stats

Up-and-coming

Jennifer Da Mata has created a young, dynamic organisation that already has a national infrastructure and operates across all industries in South Africa. Strata-g focuses on offering high quality customer service and building strong relationships with every client.

Watch this space

Strata-g has gained the trust and support of some of South Africa`s biggest companies, including but not limited to Hyundai, The Imperial Group, Kia, The University of Johannesburg, PNet, IDL Fresh, The Bidvest Group of Companies, Affinity Health, Lorna Jane and Kone Cranes. With support like this, Strata-g Labour Solutions is on its way to the top.

19. Thuli Magubane

Vital Stats

Up-and-coming

Thuli Magubane studied politics and wanted to become a diplomat, but as they say, life had another idea. She was offered a job in corporate and began climbing the ladder, but then the recession happened and she took a voluntary retrenchment package.

With no job, she decide to create one for herself. She launched Mint Fresh Advisory Services and the business is still going strong today.

Watch this space

To ensure the success of her business, Magubane studied a PDM at Wits Business School, an introduction to investment banking at Trimaster and the Executive Master in Positive Leadership & Strategy programme at IE Business School in Madrid, Spain.

Magubane’s business already has the support of large corporate clients such as Standard Bank, Sasol, Nedbank, Tata, SAPS and The City of Johannesburg.

20. Tracy Kruger

Vital Stats

Up-and-coming

It all started when her husband Marius was looking for legwear to buy for her as a gift. He couldn’t find anything that suited her taste and style. “Everything was either very cheap or super-expensive. There was nothing for the average person. Also, there weren’t enough designs and colours to choose from. I’ve never been a black or beige person.”

Watch this space

“When I first started, I tried to find local suppliers, but I was too small. No one was interested, so I ended up importing product from overseas suppliers,” Kruger explains. “Customer service is everything. You need to respond to queries quickly and efficiently. Also, find a dependable courier company, since they become an extension of your business.”

She did eventually find a good local supplier, and it’s been growth and success since then.

21. Monalisa Zwambila

Vital Stats

Up-and-coming

Monalisa Zwambila’s reputation in corporate for excellence opened doors for her when she struck out on her own. After running the business by herself for a while, she realised she couldn’t do it alone. She developed the foundations of the agency and articulated the vision. This brought about amazing changes, including finding the right people to help her build her business.

Watch this space

“Four years ago I had an epiphany,” Zwambila says. “We had 15 employees and a turnover of R18 million. I realised that if we were ever going to get bigger, I needed to find a way to get my vision out of my head, and into the organisation. It needed to be more than just me working towards a goal. It needed to be the whole organisation working together towards a shared dream.”

Today, Riverbed employs over 40 people and has a R80 million turnover, with 100% year-on-year growth.

22. Keri Stroebel

Vital Stats

Up-and-coming

In 2016, Keri Stroebel entered Mrs South Africa without any pageantry experience. She did it to combat her post-partum depression. She realised that there was a great need for support for young women suffering from depression, so she launched the Princess Boot Camp.

Watch this space

Stroebel felt that the biggest challenge was making this workshop more than just a once off encounter and a sustainable business. The workshop evolved into an empowerment initiative for teens called the Power Woman Project. There is now an annual curriculum, workshops, events and phenomenal speakers, which are bringing in more and more passionate sponsors.

23. Claire Reid

Vital Stats

Up-and-coming

In 2002, Claire Reid developed innovative biodegradable seed strips when she was only 16. She has since launched it into a business, which makes gardening accessible to everyone. Her invention was able to save 80% of the water consumed during the germination phase of plants.

Watch this space

Reel Gardening officially opened its doors in 2010 and sells both locally and internationally. It has a range of 27 products, along with custom branded and corporate products. There is even an app, which tells users exactly what to do each day according to what they planted.

While growing as a business and starting a plant revolution, Reid has also been involved with planting gardens in schools and creating employment opportunities. She currently has a campaign on Kickstarter.

24. Ramona Kasavan

Vital Stats

Up-and-coming

Ramona Kasavan first developed a business called Happy Place, which produced sanitary pads. But, she realised she wanted to do more for the young women of South Africa. She wanted to solve the real problem.

Watch this space

Mimi Women is about female empowerment, Kasavan says, “it’s about teaching girls to be ‘selfish’, giving them permission to believe that they are enough, just the way they are. They can be who they want to be.”

Her company now has three arms, a foundation that supports keeping girls in school through donated sanitary pads, a distribution arm that provides business opportunities for women in impoverished areas, and a fundraising arm to build a factory locally that manufactures sanitary pads.

25. Carrie Leaver and Shona McDonald

Vital Stats

Up-and-coming

Shona McDonald had years of experience designing and manufacturing wheelchairs in her garage when her daughter was born with Cerebral Palsy. Carrie Leaver comes from a high school teaching and project management background. They met through a mutual contact and shared a vision of creating an innovative space for entrepreneurs to develop their ideas.

Watch this space

Stoep Startup is a unique co-working space and work retreat, dedicated to social innovators, entrepreneurs and start-ups. It also offers bed and breakfast for travelling professionals, venue hire, events, workshops and a stoep café.

They aspire to be an inclusive home to entrepreneurs and start-ups. They plan to connect with more innovators and create new and exciting business ideas around the kitchen table or on the stoep.

26. Donna Rachelson

Vital Stats

Up-and-coming

Seed Academy aims to transform the SA economy through entrepreneurship. Rachelson’s business runs high impact training and business support, as well as offering access to markets and funding for entrepreneurs. They also have a branch that assists corporates in receiving a real return on their Enterprise and Supplier Development spend.

Watch this space

“Companies that increased the number of women on boards reported significant increases in profitability — typically by around 15%. It’s also been revealed by the MSCI World Index that many institutional investors are increasingly focused on the gender composition of company boards. These investors are looking for diversity,” says Rachelson.

This is why she’s focusing on women and the youth development to meet the growing need of female entrepreneurs.

27. Mahadi Granier

Vital Stats

  • Business: Khalala
  • Business Est: 2016

Up-and-coming

In 2015, Granier moved to Paris with her family. She decided while on maternity leave to launch her first business. “I realised it was a crazy prospect — new country, new market, new customers, without my social circle of influence,” she says. In reaching out for help from the South African entrepreneur-community in Paris, she stumbled on a business idea.

“They could tell me what to avoid and where to go. By tapping into this community, my research time was reduced. I found valuable resources and trusted sources. Then I realised that no one was facilitating what I was going through — helping South Africans start businesses in the French (and broader European) market. Here was a gap that could be exploited.”

Watch this space

SAFDA and Khalala are collaborating to work together to create international market access opportunities for young and emerging South African designers in Europe. Khalala now offers internships, mentorships, grants and scholarships, as well as a platform for African fashion designers to launch internationally.

28. Liesl Esau

Vital Stats

Up-and-coming

Liesl Esau has 15 years in high-hazard industries, she actively promoted a safer work ethic and managed the technical aspects of creating a safer working environment. She was also a part of fatality investigations which provided her with all the information she needs to prevent the same from happening in other businesses.

Watch this space

In addition Esau wants HSE Matters to become an educational platform to provide learnership opportunities to students. She plans on finding ways to better improve safer and healthier work environments. Esau also wants to partner with incubators and business development programmes to include Health and Safety into their businesses.

29. Prudence Spratt

Vital Stats

Up-and-coming

Prudence Spratt walked away from a successful corporate career to launch her own business. She did this because she saw a need and realised that although she was good at it, she wasn’t satisfied moving up the corporate ladder. She decided instead to launch her ecommerce project management firm.

Watch this space

“Working within large organisations, I realised there was a need for smaller firms that are ecommerce project management experts who understand corporate needs and systems, and yet are not subject to the same red tape and bureaucracy. Big digital consultancy firms can take up to a year to complete a project. There’s a lot of red tape on both sides. If you take that away you can execute faster,” Spratt explains.

Spratt Consulting has worked with the following clients: Makro, ADCD Express, Varsity College, Pick n Pay, Vodacom, Investec, Hollard Insurance and Dimension Data.

30. Joyce Mnguni

Vital Stats

Up-and-coming

Joyce Mnguni worked on cruise ships in order to travel round the world. She met her future husband and they moved to Mexico. She went to school 5 days a week to learn Spanish so she could overcome the language barrier. She wanted to be a wedding planner, but because she was over-qualified and a foreigner she couldn’t get her foot in the door.

Watch this space

So she launched her own business and started a wedding co-ordination agency. She plans the wedding and hires up-and-coming co-ordinators to run the weddings. Mnguni also spends two months a year in South Africa mentoring entrepreneurs.

31. Janine Starkey

Vital Stats

Up-and-coming

Janine Starkey used to be a stylist for actresses and actors for SA’s soap industry, but she wanted to have more of an impact. Now, she offers her expertise to everyone and anyone. “It is our mission to make you smile at your reflection and walk out of the door in the morning with a sense of power and strength,” says Starkey.

Watch this space

Starkey aims to grow her business so that it can be part of the growth and development of entrepreneurs in South Africa. “To inspire globally, to educate nationally, to impact change, and to see South African entrepreneurial women supported, nurtured and cared for,” she says. House of Janine also offers Image Academy to help young entrepreneurs learn the skills they need to launch their own business.

32. Shamila Ramjawan

Vital Stats

Up-and-coming

“Early in 2016, I launched my own brand of the menstrual cup, the PrincessD Menstrual Cup,” says Shamila Ramjawan. She started out focusing on rural and impoverished areas but she realised that this is an essential product for girls and women everywhere.

Watch this space

Ramjawan aims to take her business global. She wants PrincessD to be globally accessible, while still maintaining its affordable prices so that girls and women are equipped with a sustainable, cost-effective, hygienic and eco-friendly product.

Shamila Ramjawan won the Woman of Stature – Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2018.

33. Busi Skenjana

Vital Stats

Up-and-coming

Busi Skenjana has been a part of a stokvel her whole life, so she understood the community and the ins-and-outs of the system. She used her life experience to develop a business. Why not be the link between traditional marketing and stokvel members?

Watch this space

Skenjana now bridges the gap between brands and the 11 million people in four provinces that take part in the stokvel market. This is a market estimated at R44 billion a year, offering brands countless opportunities to engage and leverage this growing market.

34. Benji Coetzee

Vital Stats

Up-and-coming

Benji Coetzee has nearly a decade in top tier consulting, banking and insurance, paired with two master’s degrees in commerce and finance, and has worked in over 20 countries. She used her hard earned knowledge to consult, which allowed her to bootstrap her business.

Watch this space

Coetzee has big plans for her business, namely to be the orchestrator across road, rail, air and sea transport for Africa and beyond. She plans to commoditise freight and won’t let anyone get in her way. Coetzee is recognised by Forbes as one of the “Best of Africa 2016” entrepreneurs and is a mentor to top African innovators for Oxford University.

35. Jerusha Govender

Vital Stats

Up-and-coming

When Govender’s contract wasn’t renewed when she went on maternity leave with no job. She wanted to run her own business. “I wanted the opportunity to pull all of my skills and experience together and offer something new and innovative to the market,” she says.

Watch this space

She started her business in the industry she’d been working in for a number years, this meant she started with a track record and trust. “I’ve had to be innovative. I’ve had to take risks, carry costs and trust in the value of what I offer. We test what we do for clients first on a single report. Once we prove what we can do, we secure larger contracts,” she explains.

Since their launch Data Innovator has provided services to over 40 organisations.

36. Lauren Edwards

Vital Stats

Up-and-coming

VoiceMap is a tourism app that allows users to listen to stories written by local journalists and tour guides that combine an audio account with your GPS. Lauren Edwards co-created this app because she believes that a city comes to life when residents share their stories and experiences.

Watch this space

VoiceMap is based in Cape Town, but is experiencing exponential growth. There are already tours available in a continuously growing list of cities across six continents including: London, Berlin, Sydney, Washington DC, San Francisco, Buenos Aires, Beijing and Bangkok.

37. Ouma Tema

Vital Stats

Up-and-coming

Ouma Tema got tired of the “grandma” clothes she found in the plus size section at stores. “I wanted more than just the right size, everything in stores felt like they were doing me a favour,” says Tema. So she launched her own clothing brand for fuller figured women.

Watch this space

The following business women and celebrities have already worn and support Plus Fab: Anele Mdoda, Lebo Mashile, Noeleen Maholowna-Sanqu, Criselda Kananda, Deputy Minister of Women Children and People with disability Hon. Hendrietta Ipeleng Bogopane-Zulu, Rossie Motene, Nobuhle ‘Mimi’ Mahlasela, Thuthukile Skweyiya and CelEste Ntuli.

Plus Fab already receives orders from British Caribbean, UK, USA, Nigeria, Ghana, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Swaziland.

38. Annabel Biggar-David

Vital Stats

Up-and-coming

Annabel Biggar-David had a driving need to provide safe, effective, natural health solutions for the masses. To achieve this dream she sold almost everything she owned, tapped out her access bond and when money ran out would barter furniture for services.

Watch this space

Biggar-David launched her online store and also supplies South Africa’s largest organic store Faithful to Nature. They have a few distributors, but they will soon be on the shelves of national retailer Clicks in June 2018.

She also has plans in the pipeline to expand her business globally.

39. Jennifer Glodik

Vital Stats

Up-and-coming

Jennifer Glodik got her master’s degree at 21, started a business at 22, but sadly that business had to close its doors. On her second attempt she launched DIVA, and it has seen sky-rocketing growth since then.

Watch this space

“I did my research and found that, in South Africa, the beauty industry had a massive gap in knowledge, service and technologies,” says Glodik. Now, Diva has two head offices, and has opened 65 salons across South Africa in the last five years.

“We will be launching our own TV show this year with the stories of our overweight clients and in a few years we will be launching offices internationally,” she says.

40. Ntsoaki Phali

Vital Stats

  • Business: Beyond Ability Talent Solutions
  • Business Est: 2009

Up-and-coming

Ntsoaki Phali started out her adult life as a human resources co-ordinator, but she found it challenging to meet her target for employees with disabilities. She knew it wasn’t because there weren’t qualified candidates, but rather that there wasn’t a platform that supported them.

Watch this space

So, Phali quit her corporate job and launched Beyond Ability Talent Solutions, a self-sustaining recruitment agency for the physically disabled.

Today, the business has 1800 people on its books and it has won numerous awards. Phali has patterned with key Disability Matter organisations in all South African Provinces allowing her platform to service the whole of South Africa.

41. Tara-Lee de Wit

Vital Stats

Up-and-coming

Tara-Lee de Wit was home-schooled so she could start working at 16. She’d been working for a recruitment agency and saw the placement fees they were charging. So at 19 she launched her own business, a boutique recruitment agency, Principal Class Placements.

But it wasn’t all smooth sailing. de Wit’s first client agreed to pay her 25% up front and 75% in three months when she’d delivered on their contract. But, when it came time to pay the company refused. She had to take them to court and a year later got the money, but this was a valuable learning curve for de Wit.

Watch this space

Since its launch Principal Class Placements has experienced significant growth, due to clients favouring their “No Headaches” approach to the recruitment process.

42. Kim Coppen-Watkins 

Vital Stats

Up-and-coming

Kim Coppen-Watkins wanted to be a performer, but she took a job at an agency to pay the bills while she went to castings. This led to her meeting her future husband Graeme Watkins and booking gigs for him. While working in the agency she realised that she hated castings and much preferred being behind the scenes.

Watch this space

When Graeme Watkins become a runner-up in Idols SA, Coppen-Watkins knew they had to capitalise on the exposure. She decided to manage his events going forward. As her business grew she took on other artists, and even branched into MC presenting. In 2014, she was approached by Idols SA to take over the management of the top ten finalists and it’s only gone up from there.

43. Mogau Seshoene

Vital Stats

Up-and-coming

Mogau Seshoene got her degree in Consumer Science and started her career as an intern auditor at KPMG. She quickly realised this wasn’t for her and left her job to pursue her culinary dream.

Watch this space

Seshoene has big plans for The Lazy Makoti, including a range of locally produced kitchen accessories and a cookbook filled with South African favourites, along with traditional meals with a contemporary twist.

She recently went to the United States to take part in the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. “I’ll be doing the business and entrepreneurship track. I’m excited to come back a better businesswoman,” she explains.

44. Andy Golding

Vital Stats

  • Business: Strive
  • Business Est: 2014

Up-and-coming

Andy Golding started out working for Missing Link, where she loved every moment. But, I quickly realised that this wasn’t a typical experience. How could one group of employees love every moment of the workday, while so many others hate going to work?” says Golding.

She started a blog called Companies Behaving Awesomely. This led to the launch of Strive, which aims to help businesses not only attract the best people, but also retain them.

Watch this space

Since its launch Strive has already worked with a variety of clients including: ABSA, Sorbet, Paul’s Homemade Ice Cream, The Whippet and Missing Link.

45. Lien Potgieter

Vital Stats:

Up-and-coming

Lien Potgieter started her professional career as an editor, writer and communication specialist for 12 years. But, after hitting almost rock bottom in multiple aspects of her life she realised one night that she was surrounded by ‘brown’, she thought to herself, “I can’t live surrounded by dull.” This is when she discovered colour therapy and how it could be used for self-development. It took her a few years to turn colour into a sustainable business and transform her life.

Watch this space

She studied colour therapy and started offering colour assessments at corporate wellness days. She now offers three online courses to women who want to live life to the fullest in relationships, business and creativity. “I love personal development and growth. I use colour as a tool to help people learn more about themselves,” explains Potgieter.

46. Ezlyn Barends

Vital Stats

Up-and-coming

When Barends launched DreamGirls, she had no capital, only her desire to do good and her commitment to the cause, and somehow everything fell into place. She found corporate donors to help her fund the programme.

Watch this space

DreamGirls has been growing from strength-to-strength, offering mentoring, as well as an outreach programme across the country. Their medium to long-term strategy is to launch branches in other countries. Locally, they have expanded into Pretoria, Durban, Bloemfontein and Kimberley, they are also assessing expansion opportunities into Botswana, Kenya and Jordan.

47. Rabia Ghoor

Vital Stats

Up-and-coming

At, 14 Rabia Ghoor launched her make-up and skincare online beauty store. She made her first sale a year later and left school at 16 to pursue the business. At 18, she is in the process of building her beauty empire.

Watch this space

SwiitchBeauty is currently processing 2500 to 3000 orders a month and steadily growing. Ghoor is focused on getting SwiitchBeauty to be every South African woman’s preferred beauty brand. “I am focused on dominating the market of South African beauty enthusiasts before branching out into the more competitive international field,” she explains.

48. Katy Valentine

Vital Stats

Up-and-coming

After taking a trip to India, Katy Valentine was inspired by the craftsmanship of the local jewellers and the wide variety of gemstones. On her return to South Africa she realised there was a gap in the market for moderately priced, easy to wear African and Oriental inspired jewellery. “I started by making a few pieces for myself and the business evolved organically from there,” she explains.

Watch this space

Valentine plans to grow her jewellery business and branch out into designing and selling other pieces such as interior design items and home wear.

49. Leah Molatseli

Vital Stats

Up-and-coming

In 2015, Leah Molatseli quit her corporate job as a legal practitioner. She had just become a mother and the hours at the legal firm didn’t suit what she wanted for her life going forward. She started off as a legal practitioner from home, but this was time-consuming, and impossible to scale.

Watch this space

She started to streamline her offering by using platforms like Skype, so she didn’t need to meet clients in person, increasing her customer base. Lenoma Legal now offers products and services like employment agreements, corporate filings, commercial agreements, business registrations and affidavits, while also offering legal advice online.

50. Lynette Ntuli

Vital Stats

Up-and-coming

Lynette Ntuli at the age of 24 was appointed the GM of the Pavilion shopping centre in KwaZulu Natal, this was her entry into the property development industry.

“Once we understand the value of the beast, its roots, how things work and what the different classes of property are, at the right time [we will] take all the sweet spots and invest them into a fund," says Ntuli.

Watch this space

Ntuli also has a passion for youth development and leadership and launched IgniteSA.com with a few of her friends to create a platform that offers skills and networking opportunities. They are building an ecosystem in education, skills

More from Entrepreneur

Amina AlTai teaches entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs how to balance a thriving career, body and mind.
Jumpstart Your Business. Entrepreneur Insider is your all-access pass to the skills, experts, and network you need to get your business off the ground—or take it to the next level.
Are you paying too much for business insurance? Do you have critical gaps in your coverage? Trust Entrepreneur to help you find out.

Latest on Entrepreneur