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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

Start Somewhere, Then Build!

“Before we started, we were just a bunch of guys in college. When we would walk into a company like MTN to present our ideas, they seemed to look at us and think: ‘You really think you can do this?’

We quickly learned that you have to do something extraordinary in first, before people notice you, and take you seriously. Start somewhere, then build!”

I Am Youngpreneur

Gerard Yitamkey, Co-Founder and CEO of Ahonya: a Ghanaian startup providing an e-commerce platform for electronics and computers.

 

What’s YOUR Opinion?

“The greatest challenge in being an entrepreneur is always having to explain yourself. People always say to me, ‘Wait, what is it that you do again?’”

What matters is not the opinions that others have about what you do, but your own opinions. If you see value in your dream, then continue to chase it! You have to be honest with yourself, as the investor, with regards to the true return value of the enterprise. Dream big, as long as it is still worth it.

Raelene Rorke, the former Miss Teen South Africa, is the co-founder of SpringAge. SpringAge is a consultancy firm that enables youth-led organizations to resolve challenges in innovative ways.

Edited by Sharon Green, Editor-in-Chief

Join the Tribe

Kate Nero of Tribe Coffee narrates her journey to owning a third of one of Africa’s most successful coffee brands. After working for a competitor, she and her partners thought to themselves: “Why can’t we do that?” The rest, as the saying goes, is history. Continue Reading →

The Difference Between a Brand and a Business

Blackstone Bookshop is a family affair and we have all played a role in bringing this idea to a reality. I saw a gap in the market and made a suggestion to my family about the concept. After toying around it for a little while, our idea became a reality in 2010, and upon my return home in December of that year, I was involved in the daily operations and trying to re-integrate myself into the business landscape in Zimbabwe. Continue Reading →

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Getting Our Hands Dirty with Urban Farming

“We didn’t plan on being mushroom farmers. During the last semester of our university careers, Nikhil lined up a corporate consulting job and I nabbed one in investment banking.” —Alejandro Velez Continue Reading →

Anything But Average

Yacoob Carr is the founder of Munaaz Catering Equipment. Growing up in an average family, he constantly took steps that would make him everything but average. The dreamer turned successful young entrepreneur worked through the challenges of his entrepreneurial journey, situating himself as one of the most influential players in Africa’s catering industry.

Quiq-e with Laurian: Siba the Entrepreneur Part II

Quiq-e is a bite-sized entertainment show hosted by Laurian Nortje. In this episode, Siba Mtongana talks about the importance for women and other young people to own their business ventures. She also gives health tips for entrepreneurs needing to keep up a high level of energy throughout the day. Siba is a celebrity chef known best for hosting the Food Network show Siba’s Table.