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Giving digital power to Africa’s entrepreneurs

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Mashudu Modau is the creative entrepreneur behind South Africa’s podcast network dedicated to amplifying the voices of Africa’s youth, Lutcha Africa. The self-proclaimed youth entrepreneurship evangelist and startup supporter is also the founder of Mashstartup – an interactive digital platform built to educate and empower African entrepreneurs through engaging content. He’s using digital media to connect young people to opportunity while documenting the rise of youth-owned business in modern day Africa. “We want to shift the way entrepreneurs and African youth in general learn, build and grow themselves or their business through digital content, primarily podcasts, and other future initiatives.”

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Reshaping Stereotypes in African Fashion

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Psychology graduate Bontle Mosia is an entrepreneur using fashion as a tool to celebrate African print and body image to positively empower young women. “I started the Curve Essentials as a Facebook page in 2015 in order to promote body positivity and self love [then] in 2017 I lost my job and needed a way to make money as the bills were piling up.” Bontle posted samples of her work on Twitter and the response was strong enough to help the brand take off.

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Building African brands (and African women) with passion and purpose

phemelo 1Phemelo Segoe is the social media maven using digital media to build lasting brands that tell authentic stories. She’s the founder of brand building agency MillTribe and her newly launched foundation, HerTribe, which empowers young women with the tools they need to navigate through the journey of entrepreneurship.

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Weaving the future of African fashion

Khaya Sithole of Menspoke Atelier says his business is driven by the vision to create a proudly South African brand – powerful enough to compete globally while allowing him to share his passion for bespoke tailoring with other men. Khaya is the founding Creative Director at Menspoke Atelier – a bespoke tailoring house specializing in shirt making and accessories.

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All About the Beauty… and Brains

Award-winning entrepreneur Lebo Mpela’s introduction to entrepreneurship was influenced by the need to have fashionable nails without compromising the health of her own natural nails. “I drew from my own bad experiences with acrylic nails and the damage that they cause. That’s why our product is a three-free formula because it doesn’t contain the three toxic chemicals commonly found in nail polish – your nails still grow and remain strong underneath.”

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Home of Local Online Shopping

Vusi Mabona is the founder of zoke.co.za – a premium online marketplace for South African brands. It allows customers to shop from a range of locally manufactured products including books, watches, homeware and personal care brands. The idea to build a platform exclusively for local entrepreneurs was developed after Vusi needed to reach customers for his first business which traded interior design accessories.

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What it takes to be Magnificent with Abiot Ledwaba

 

Young people are not interested in solving problems. We want to become entrepreneurs because we are fixated with a showy lifestyle that we see on social media or we’re excited with the idea of being our own boss.

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Exposing a New Generation of African Storytellers

It wasn’t until her fourth year in medical school that Nkateko Masinga realised that her true calling is to heal people through her words. “Before I decided to study medicine I contemplated studying journalism or literature but I was discouraged by the advice that there is no money in the arts and I should rather pursue a career that will give me more security.” Now a published author and the owner of Nsuku Publishing, Nkateko is shattering that stereotype and also creating opportunities for young African storytellers to monetise their work.

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Tell Our Story in Everyday Apparel

Zintle Intokazi which directly translates into “the girls are beautiful” is using simple, everyday apparel to change the narrative of what it means to be young and African while also celebrating influential African figures.

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Fresh Kicks On the Go with Happy Feet

Growing up in the townships of South Africa means learning how to sustain yourself with little resources, using a few skills that many of us discover along the way, and knowing how to leverage off the ever vibrant and bustling sense of community. This is exactly what Ofentse Dakisa is doing with his mobile sneaker cleaning business – Happy Feet Footwear Laundry.

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The Business of a Girl Boss

21 Year old digital entrepreneur Tebatso Molapo says she was frustrated with the fact that most of the successful business owners in the small town from which she hails were men. “I saw a gap in  female-owned businesses in my hometown in Limpopo and I wanted to create a platform that encourages innovation and entrepreneurship while also building a sisterhood among female entrepreneurs.”

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Shen Scott: From a Movement to the Boardroom

Pretoria-based creative entrepreneur is changing perceptions and challenging social norms – one image at a time. After realizing the interest for his photographs on social media, he joined a local university newspaper as a photojournalist and did a short internship withThe Times. Later that year, Shen Scott was at the forefront of capturing the iconic #FeesMustFall movement in protest action.

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Change Agent Gugu Nonjinge Means Business

Staff Writer: Dimpho Lekgeu

Powerful agent of change, Gugu Nonjinge, has a deep passion for uplifting the lives of African women. It’s no wonder her company – LeBrunch SA – facilitates a social platform that engages young women from diverse backgrounds to connect and network.

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Creating the World’s Greatest Smartphone Lenses for Any Phone Camera (Part Two)

In this second part of the quiq-e, founders of Limelens share on the mistakes and lessons learnt along their journey to building the world’s greatest smartphone lenses. Limelens is driven to create products that integrate into the daily lives of ordinary people.The company has seen great growth as a result of creating tools that reinvent old technology.

Creating the World’s Greatest Smartphone Lenses for Any Phone Camera (Part One)

In this quiq-e, founders of Limelens share on their journey to building the world’s greatest smartphone lenses. Driven to create products that integrate into the daily lives of ordinary people, the company has seen great growth as a result of creating tools that reinvent old technology.

How to Secure the Market: The Story of New Entrants Taking Over!

David and Chazanne Long are unlikely entrepreneurs in many eyes. The qualified scientists expected to be employed in academia or corporate South Africa. After a decade of employment, the young professionals, resolved to offer a new generation of scientific laboratories and consultancy.

The Pitbull in Heels Tells It All

Farah Fortune is possibly the most successful female entrepreneur in the public relations industry. Having founded her company 8 years ago she’s garnered experience that has led her to the top. In this Quiq-e with Laurian, she shares her tips and strategies to become the best in your environment

The African Story is Being Retold

“My good friend OfentseLetebele was selected as the BOS Ice Tea design-a-can competition winner in 2014 and he asked me to assist him with his PR campaign to which I agreed because that’s what friends do”, she explains. After a successful campaign, Mamabolo was approached by more young entrepreneurs in her circle to do PR and media relations work.

Dealing with legal issues in your new business venture

No matter how young or old you are when you start a new business the problems all entrepreneurs face are very similar. Start out with a good business plan set out properly because the first problem is likely to be finance; setting up a business requires some capital or line of credit and having a business plan will help secure it. When that problem has been overcome, there are legal issues to think about. The business must be put onto a proper legal footing as soon as possible.

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The cost of being relevant: unravelling the business of art

“We’re in an industry where artists are not respected as business men and women. Artists are taken advantage of because of the need of exposure, where as galleries without art, are just walls,” explains Ronald Muchatuta, a Cape Town based artist who is not afraid to explore controversial topics.

What Brexit Means for Young Entrepreneurs

On June 23 the United Kingdom voted in a referendum to leave the European Union. The result has caused a ripple of effects in the business world as young entrepreneurs and business leaders alike maneuver to establish what this means for their companies.
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Samantha Ngcolomba: The Modern Age Wonder Woman

“I had come across a story of a woman who was assaulted by her partner.” This is how Samantha Ngcolomba, the bubbly social entrepreneur starts her story. “He placed her in a dustbin, then set it alight. This incident both scarred and inspired me,” she retells in both shock and wonder.

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Yoliswa Cele on Changing the South African Youth Narrative

 

“Young South Africans are only relevant when burning things down. I’d attend economic forums to find in room full of international players, one Nigerian; one Kenyan and no South African. How could this be when South Africa is a giant on the continent,” questions Yoliswa Cele, co-founder of Ndosi Strategies.

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The Unique Experience of Grove Audio

“My first memory of music was Daft Punk’s around the world. I remember it (ironically) blaring through the speakers of the television set at home. It had been a music video. Even though the medium has changed, the love and appreciation for audio continued – even until now.”

Olivia on Making Room in a (Seemingly) Crowded Market

“I don’t operate the same way as other startups in Kenya do. Incubators have mushroomed all over, providing space for startups to engage with one another, as well as engage with investors. This is a good thing, but I prefer silence. I prefer to work in spaces that are peaceful and quiet, where I hear birds chirping in the background.”

Lucy Worsley on building her Empire

“The first day was scary. However, with that there was a sense of freedom: I was delivering to the world my expression of how I saw it. The office space was within the that of my best friends’ office: desk and laptop ready. Simple. I had always known what I wanted to do next.” 

Lucy Worsley is the founder of Empire – an experiential marketing agency with a double folded agenda. First, to take advantage of the burgeoning female economy whilst pursuing the advantage of woman empowerment. Second, to establish a brand that exists on the premise of a shared economy. It lives on the mantra: ‘Listen. Learn. Create. Inspire.’

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The Journey is Long: Keep Pushing

In the last two quarters, several Nigerian e-commerce startups have closed shop… These were all companies with founders, visions, dreams, and a team—and now, they don’t exist. What always struck me is the way [that they close down]: there is never a farewell message on their website, or Twitter or Instagram; even our local tech blogs ignore their demise. It’s almost as if death comes at night and all you’re left with is a homepage link that doesn’t open. Continue Reading →

Stay Motivated for the Long Run

My first paid job was in Germany as a night watchman guarding a paralysed man. The job required me to be awake and watchful most of the time, to correct slumps, and ensure that my ward didn’t have any life-threatening complications at any time. I used to spend the entire night actively writing code to keep awake. —Mark Essien, Nigeria

Mark Essien is a software and mobile development expert. Motivated to be a part of the technological space after watching his father build various mechanical devices, Mark decided to explore the field of Computer Science and Engineering, and founded Hotels.ng. His vibrant startup (founded in 2012) is the largest hotel booking portal in Nigeria, and hit 6000 Hotels sign up in 2014.

Edited by Sharon Green, Editor-in-Chief

Spot the Opportunity

“My co-founder (and husband) Alen Ribic and I came up with the concept for SweepSouth out of a personal need that indicated opportunity. While on holiday in Cape Town one December, we struggled to find help with domestic cleaning. It took us weeks to search the classifieds, ask friends for referrals, and go back and forth via email and phone with cleaners and agencies. Moreover, the cleaners we did speak to were underpaid and unmotivated.

Uber had recently launched in South Africa, and we loved the idea of an ‘Uber for home cleaning’, which also used the technology to provide work opportunities for cleaners. We were excited about the idea of modernising the industry and empowering cleaners to earn fair rates and decide on their own schedules.”

Aisha Pandor of SweepSouth

Don’t Fret the Small Beginnings

Megan Grassell is the 18 year old who made headlines last year for giving up a promising skiing career and postponing university to launch the youth bra company Yellowberry.

After the initial success of the company, she faced capacity challenges. “We were in our living room sitting with hundreds of back orders and not enough products; just getting phone calls, and it was so surreal, it was so crazy!”

“I was so worried… I said, ‘Oh my god, will this continue? Or can we keep it going?’

Over the upcoming months, Grassell’s mom joined as her partner. They found office space and hired several of Grassell’s high school friends to fill the back orders. She created a system of operation to allow the company to grow, and be able to handle the growing interest. She now works with an agency to outsource manufacturing and merchandising. The moral of the story? Capacity-building is what will help you keep the business, when it comes.

Edited by Sharon Green, Editor-in-Chief