Our Inspiringwomen readers have been asking for a round-up of the most successful and famous black entrepreneurs in South Africa. This list of South African entrepreneurs and their success stories will help you to think differently about South African entrepreneurship and what is possible with the right mindset and motivation.
11 Successful Entrepreneurs In South Africa
Time Magazine named him one of the “Top 30 under 30 people that are changing the world” in 2013. Having invented “DryBath” at the age of 17 – a product set to revolutionize sanitation in impoverished areas – Marishane is the founder of Headboy Industries. He is so dedicated to his product that Marishane was quick to file patent and thus became South Africa’s youngest patent filer. It’s no surprise that Marishane is so well known, especially when it comes to South African male entrepreneurs’ names. As one of the most successful black entrepreneurs and most famous entrepreneurs in South Africa, Marishane is a name to watch out for! Marishane was rated the best student entrepreneur in the world at the Global Champion of the Global Student Entrepreneurs Awards in 2011. All this led Google to name him as one of the 12 brightest young minds in the world in 2011 as well. This young innovator holds a Bachelor of Business Science, majoring in Finance & Accounting, from the University of Cape Town. Knowing this, we’re excited to see what Marishane will do as he continues to develop as a businessman. We’re confident that he will continue to make great strides among the successful black entrepreneurs in South Africa.
This mini beauty mogul is 14 years old and already has four years of business experience under her belt, and he has one of the best origin stories among the black female entrepreneurs in South Africa. With support from her parents, Zandra started her own health and beauty line at the age of 10, after her dad refused to give her money for make-up. This enterprising young woman turned her father’s “no” and a favorite hobby into a successful business venture. Today, Zandra continues to sell health and beauty products and speaks to other young women about confidence, success, and running one’s own business. Zandra certainly stands apart from black entrepreneurs everywhere, with her passion for branding and giving back to her community. We do not doubt that Zandra will go on to become not only one of the most famous entrepreneurs in South Africa but in markets abroad as well!
Alongside his brother Lonwabo, Luvuyo founded Silulo Ulutho Technologies—a company servicing youth and adults in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape provinces, equipping them with much-needed computer skills. One thing that sets Luvuyo apart from other black entrepreneurs is not only that he has big ideas, but also that he has big dreams to give back to his community. The company’s overall vision is to empower all African citizens to become part of the digital community. This dynamic duo initially ran their business from a boot of their car. Since then, Rani has been nominated for an award at the Junior Chamber International Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World (JCI TOYP) in Germany, ten years after he had started his company, which honors ten outstanding young people under the age of 40 each year. Rani’s accolades speak for themselves. He is not only one of the most famous South African entrepreneurs in modern-day, but he is also someone to watch out for when it comes to South African male entrepreneur names.
We look forward to watching Rani’s dreams continue to take shape and spread throughout Africa.
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 by selling sandwiches at local soccer games, it was clear that Batsetsana was gifted with a keen eye for business from a young age, and it wasn’t a surprise when she became one of the most successful black female entrepreneurs in South Africa. 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 a fortune by beginning to build her brand. In 1995, she became a joint shareholder of Tweselopele 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, as well as one of the most famous South African entrepreneurs.
Kumalo went from strength to strength when she launched her clothing, eyewear, and cosmetics range that reached over 250 stores in 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. As one of the most successful black entrepreneurs in South Africa, Kumalo has worked tirelessly to support her businesses, colleagues, and country. She is also the Executive Chairperson of Tweselope Productions.
Xuza is an example of the high caliber of scientists South Africa needs. This young South African scientist has had NASA name a planet after him, in honor of his work in developing a record-breaking rocket and creating safer, more energy-efficient rocket fuel. What an accomplishment! As one of the most innovative black entrepreneurs and one of the most creative famous entrepreneurs in South Africa, we look forward to seeing what the fruits of his labor will yield next! The 25-year-old from Mthatha in the Eastern Cape is currently studying at Harvard University in the US in a bid to develop new energy technology, which he hopes will, in turn, help the planet.
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. We look forward to seeing Magasa continue to persevere and make remarkable strides as she continues on her journey as one of the leading black female entrepreneurs in South Africa.
Nick saw an opportunity creating in street-wear, and his idea bore fruits when his company “Head Honcho” was launched in 2011. “Head Honcho” is a street-wear brand that emerged from the streets of Cape Town. Kaoma designed the brand to resonate among other black entrepreneurs and those who aim to work towards becoming famous entrepreneurs in South Africa. The brand’s name implies that the clothing is made for people who aspire to be tomorrow’s moguls, leaders, and achievers. Their apparel is stocked up by major retailers and is featured notably at youth themed events around the country.
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. With such a keen eye for innovation, it’s no surprise that Dhlomo is one of the most notable black female entrepreneurs in South Africa. And although Dhlomo is one of the most beloved and successful black entrepreneurs in South Africa, it is noteworthy to mention that her realm of influence expands far beyond South Africa’s borders. 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.
A few other Inspiring Black Female Entrepreneurs making waves across the world who we love:
Hughes is an African-American radio and television personality and business executive. Hughes founded the media company Radio One and later expanded into TV One. Her company went public in 1998, making Hughes the first and only African-American woman to head a publicly traded corporation at the time—an accomplishment that was impressive for black entrepreneurs, but for black female entrepreneurs especially! In the 1970s, Hughes created the urban radio format called the Quiet Storm on Howard University’s radio station, WHUR, even choosing its very first disc jockey, the late Melvin Lindsay (a Howard student at the time). According to Hughes, “It’s interesting how God arranges your schedule. When you’re helping someone else, you never run out of time. When you’re just interested in helping yourself, time is really short.”
Janice Bryant Howroyd
Janice Bryant Howroyd is a black female entrepreneur. She is founder and chief executive officer of ACT-1 Group, the largest minority woman-owned employment agency in the United States.
In 2003, Janice’s company placed third on the Black Enterprise magazine list of Top Black-Owned Industrial/Service Companies in America. In 2005, she received the Spirit of American Enterprise Presidential Award. Three years later, she was named Entrepreneur of the Year by the BET cable television network. In 2013, the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding honored her with the Joseph Papp Racial Harmony Award for her commitment to improving race relations.
Howroyd believes, “Discipline is not a dirty word. There is far more freedom and opportunity for creativity and success in enjoying discipline. Years ago someone I very much respect told me the reason they were successful is that they embraced doing what other people resent or are reluctant to do.”
As a businesswoman and black entrepreneur, Janice Bryant Howroyd is one of the most influential female entrepreneurs in America.
We look forward to seeing what innovations she has in store for us in the upcoming years.
We couldn’t create a list of successful black entrepreneurs in South Africa without mentioning Leanna Archer. This Long Island native started her Leanna Inc. haircare line at just 11-years-old. Yes, 11-years-old. Her all-natural organic hair butters and shampoos have helped her earn over $100,000 in revenue. Her small operation thrives with lots of help from her family.
With such promising potential and innovation, we’re sure that this isn’t the last we’ll hear of Leanna Archer’s accomplishments! Her journey as a black entrepreneur is only just beginning—we look forward to seeing where it takes her.
Related article: South African Entrepreneurs Success Stories