Africa is increasingly becoming known as a viable economy to invest in and this is largely due to the success of entrepreneurial ventures. Entrepreneurship is not only about building and running your own business, but it’s also about offering a solution to a problem as well as having the passion and perseverance to see it through. The following female entrepreneurs have many common characteristics but none more so than these two vital elements. Here’s a closer look at some of South Africa’s top entrepreneurs.
Basetsana Kumalo – Executive Chairman & CEO of Basetsana Woman Investment Holdings (Pty) Ltd
Well-known for her string of Beauty Queen titles, Former Miss South Africa and Miss World runner up Basetsana Kumalo has become a household name thanks to her fierce entrepreneurial mind and talents. Starting out by selling sandwiches at local soccer games, it was clear that Batsetsana was gifted with a keen eye for business from a young age. During her reign as Miss South Africa in 1990, Batsetsana became a TV presenter on a popular local show, Top Billing. It was then that she quickly turned her fame into fortune by beginning to build her brand. In 1995, she became a joint shareholder ofTweselopele Productions, the production company that housed Top Billing and later went on to become JSE listed, making Kumalo one of the youngest black female directors in South Africa.
Kumalo went from strength to strength when she launched her own clothing, eyewear and cosmetics range that reached over 250 stores on the Sub-Saharan region. She is currently the President of the Business Women’s Association of South Africa and has won numerous accolades for her continued efforts and commitment to developing the South African economy. She is also the Executive Chairperson of Tweselope Productions.
Lynette Magasa– Founder and chief executive of Boniswa Corporate Solutions
Born in Swaziland, Magasa began her professional career as a receptionist for a leading defence technology corporation. After completing her studies in Human Resources, Magasa was then promoted and found her true calling in telecoms. Together with her husband and funding from the National Empowerment Fund (NEF), Magasa created her telecoms start-up in 2004 and is now the proud owner of one the most successful black-owned telecoms businesses in Africa – Boniswa Corporate Solutions.
The business is operational in Gauteng, Mpumalanga, the Eastern Cape, Limpopo, as well as Swaziland, Botswana, Mozambique and Zambia. A BEE-compliant company, Boniswa Corporate Solutions has won several awards, including the BBQ 2013 Trade and Investment KwaZulu-Natal New and Innovative Business award. Magasa’s impressive business acumen and perseverance was acknowledged when she won Business Women of the Year in 2013.
Shellie Roodt – Founder and Managing Director of IWESCO, Mpumalanga
Iwesco was founded in 1997 and has since grown to become one of the leading industrial waste management businesses in the country. Providing its clients with consolidated waste and environmental management solutions, as well as contract cleaning services, Iwesco is expanding at a rapid pace and is far ahead of its competition.
Shellie Roodt created a solution for South Africa’s waste management problem. Hesitant at first, mainly because industrial waste management was initially not a widely accepted concept in South Africa, she surged forward and ended up walking away with both the Top Gender Empowered Company and Top Woman Entrepreneur awards at the Top Women Awards in 2012.
Roodt piloted her next project, Adopt- a-Road, in 2012. This initiative attempts to combine enterprise development with the BEE scorecard. Franchises will be sold to individuals who in turn will be sponsored by the private sector. The businesses who partake in this initiative will earn points towards enterprise development and this allows the franchisee to run a profitable business while simultaneously creating jobs. Currently in collaboration with the Johannesburg Roads Agency and the Tshwane Metro, Roodt believes that in time, this initiative will give municipal workers the time to focus on more important areas of service delivery.
Khanyi Dhlomo – Founder and Managing Director of Ndalo Media
Receiving her head start in her media career at the young age of 20, Khanyi Dhlomo is presently the Managing Director of Ndalo Media which she founded in 2007. Collaborating with Media 24, she is the head publisher for two of the most successful South African magazines: Destiny and Destiny Man. Always miles ahead of her competition, Dhlomo has also crossed over to the digital sphere by creating the online media site, Destiny Connect. Seen as a media power house on a global scale, Dhlomo was noted as one of Africa’s most successful women by Forbes Magazine in 2011, and has received awards for Magazine Editor of the Year as well as Most Influential Woman in South African Media.
In 2015, Forbes Magazine wrote that the key to economic growth lies in supporting and promoting female entrepreneurs. In the meantime, South Africa’s economy continues to grow as these female-run businesses expand and flourish.