Five young South Africans – four men and a woman – are on the list of Forbes Africa 30’s Most Promising Entrepreneurs under the age of 30.
Inga Gubeka of Indalo Décor, Siya Beyile of The Threaded Man, Emmanuel Bonoko of the EBonoko Foundation, Mogau Seshoene of The Lazy Makoti and Nadav Ossendryver of Latest Sightings are among the billionaires of tomorrow, according to Forbes Africa.
The five South Africans, along with 25 other young entrepreneurs from across the continent, were chosen from a list of 250 potential under 30s, according to news portal Fin24. “Forbes Africa said its team worked for weeks verifying and investigating the list and favoured entrepreneurs with fresh ideas. It also took into account their business size, location, potential, struggles and determination,” it reported.
Using social media to enhance their brand globally is one of the key things these entrepreneurs have in common.
Inga Gubeka, founder and chief executive officer of the design studio Indalo Décor in Cape Town, says most of his clients are from Europe. “I use social media as a platform to market our brand globally. We reach clients from all parts of the world.”
His business creates and manufactures wooden bags.
Gubeka says he also uses social media to motivate other young people. “I motivate them to think globally, have a vision. We live in interesting times where we can do anything anywhere because of the power of the internet.
The 28-year-old says his entrepreneurial journey has been tough. “Starting a business was the hardest thing I have ever had to do.
“But hard work and passion pays off,” says Gubeka, who grew up in Durban. “It’s important to remain positive at all times, be passionate in whatever you do. Don’t be afraid to dream.”
He says making the Forbes Africa list is motivation to do even better in the future.
Watch Video: Gubeka shows how his idea of creating a wooden product became a reality:
The 27-year-old Seshoene says she is both excited and humbled by making it on to the Forbes Africa list. “It’s an amazing vote of confidence and validation,” she says. “Being the only South African woman on the list also makes me realise that there is still a lot of work to be done in levelling the playing field, but I am hopeful.
Her business, The Lazy Makoti, is a platform for young South African makotis (African word used for brides) to learn the art of cooking traditional African food.
The Lazy Makoti has since grown from cooking classes to selling locally produced kitchen accessories. In the pipeline is a television show that will air in September on eTV, says Seshoene.
She uses social media to regularly share recipes, tips and hints, mostly on African cuisine, cooking and local content. “Social media is an important, accessible and easy to use tool that was most instrumental in marketing The Lazy Makoti brand.
“To her, entrepreneurship is vital to secure the future of the country. “It is up to the youth to not only carve out a path for themselves, but for South Africa.
“There are not only countless opportunities, but also various spheres of government, corporates and development organisations that are there to help young people explore entrepreneurship. They’ll help with anything from registering a business, to mentorship and finance”.
Watch Video: how Seshoene runs her business
At 19, Ossendryver is the youngest of the five. Founder and chief executive of Latest Sighting, an online, real-time, wildlife spotting service for visitors to the Kruger National Park, he uses social media platforms and created an Android app to inform people all over the world what the interesting animals and birds are doing.
He told Fin24 that the Kruger Sightings YouTube Channel was the most watched South African channel with over 315 million views. Ossendryver uses his website to get the public to send in videos as well.
Watch Nadav Ossendryver explain how he used social media and an app to make his brand successful:
Siya Beyile is the go-to-man if you need advice on men’s fashion. The 22-year- old fashion director and founder of The Threaded Man is the new face of the American Swiss campaign, which launched nationwide on 31 May.
He was also the fashion director of the South African Music Awards on 4 June.
Watch Video: Siya Beyile talks about investment clothing
Bonoko is a 26-year-old social entrepreneur. The founder of EBonoko Foundation, his initiative collected and distributed over 12,000 books across South Africa. The book drive led to youth mentorships, bursary campaigns and youth seminars.
He says he is humbled and honoured to be on Forbes Africa’s list. “I strongly believe it will open other greater doors. Above all, to be on a list with other African countries’ entrepreneurs is a great feeling!”
Watch Video: Emmanuel Bonoko talks about how building relationships is important for social entrepreneurship
Others on the list
Other entrepreneurs on the list include Nkosana Mazibisa (Zimbabwe), Momarr Mass Taal (Gambia), Hanta Tiana Ranaivo Rajaonarisoa (Madagascar), Vital Sounouvou (Benin), Kelvin Doe (Sierra Leone), William Elong (Cameroon), Fatoumata BA (Senegal), Uneku Atawodi and Obinwanne Okeke (Nigeria), and Barclay Okari and Joel Macharia (Kenya).
Forbes Africa’s list editor Ancillar Mangena says it has been a very long but interesting journey. “I think I am more excited about the list than the entrepreneurs. I have become attached to each and every one of them because the vetting process was so long and I had to talk to them often.
“I am confident they are the billionaires of tomorrow.”