Home Inspiration Personal Development 5 South African Women Entrepreneurs’ Success Stories

5 South African Women Entrepreneurs’ Success Stories

Maria Ramos

It’s not easy being a female entrepreneur, but that didn’t stop this list of great women from going above and beyond in order to reach their goals. Here are 5 South African Women Entrepreneurs’ Success Stories.

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1. Maria Ramos

Maria Ramos is a Portuguese South African business woman who today is the CEO of ABSA group. She first moved to South Africa from Portugal with her parents where she later became a citizen. After university she primarily worked in finance and banking, taught economics and served as an economist.

She was appointed the country’s director of general finance, from which she moved to the position of CEO of Transnet in 2004. There she began to transform the country’s economy by reorganizing the debt ridden company. As a result she was ranked by Fortune magazine as one of the most powerful women in international business for four years in a row.

2. Basetsana Kumalo

Basetsana Kumalo, also known as Bassie, was part of the beauty pageant circuit since the age of 16 where she was crowned Miss Black South Africa and Miss Soweto. Four years later she was crowned Miss South Africa. While still having the crown she shifted her career by starting to work for the TV programme Top Billing.

She became a 50% partner of Tswelopele Productions, the company which produces top billing, and executive chairperson of Tswelopele Group and Tswelopele Publishing. But that’s not all; since then she has developed a clothing line, sits on the boards of five companies and endorses a Revlon Hair Product.

3. Khanyi Dhlomo

Khanyi first started gracing magazine covers by the age of 15; she went on to be a radio news reader at 18, television newsreader at 20 and editor of True Love at 22. After this short rise to the top and 8 years at True Love, she decided to move to Paris in order to run a South African touring campaign, before studying at Harvard.

While at Harvard she struck up a plan to publish her own magazine. After returning to South Africa she launched Destiny, a magazine that combined business content and lifestyle. Since then she became a director of the Foschini Retail Group and CEO of Ndalo Media.

4. Wendy Luhabe

Wendy is a South African business woman that has pioneered many initiatives in attempts to provide economic empowerment to women. Wendy got her first exercise in social entrepreneurship in 1995 after she founded Bridging the Gap. Since then she went onto found the Women Investment Portfolio Holdings (Wiphold) and was listed as one of the 50 Leading Women Entrepreneurs of the World.

She is now the Chair in the Women Private Equity Fund and on the board of the IMD Business School. Recently she was also appointed by the US Secretary of State to the Council on Women’s Business Leadership.

5. Felicia Mabuza-Suttle

Known as the South African Oprah, Felicia started out by being born into an entrepreneurial family in Sophiatown. After studying at a University in America, she entered the television industry working her way up to an executive position at Houston Public Television. She later returned to South Africa in 1994 where she landed her on TV show on SABC, The Felicia Show.

She went onto become the executive producer of the Africa Channel and founding member and non-executive director Pamodzi Investment Holdings Ltd. She also owns a successful restaurant and is a bestselling author of the book Dare to Dream.

So next time you’re struggling to get through a day of running your business, why not look through this list for some inspiration.

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