The influential Forbes Africa business magazine unveiled its annual 30 Under 30 young African entrepreneurs on 1 June 2017. The list features up-and-coming small business leaders making an impact on the continent and the world.
In addition to emerging moguls from Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana, the Forbes Africa 30 Under 30 list also features a number of rising South African business players.
In determining who made the list this year, Forbes journalist Ancillar Mangena told the Okayplayer website that “[the] list celebrates young Africans who are working hard to turn the continent’s fortune”. Noting the relevance of releasing the list during South Africa’s Youth Month commemoration of the 1976 student revolt against apartheid, Mangena noted that “[like] the youth of 1976 fought for political freedom, these under 30s are fighting for financial freedom. As we like to call them, they are the billionaires of tomorrow.”
Mangena also said 2017 was a breakthrough year for the list, now in its sixth year, because it was more representative, particularly including people from countries such as Rwanda and Namibia that had not featured before, as well as having more women.
“These 30 are not waiting for anyone to offer them a job,” said Mangena, “they are creating the jobs and building global brands. The people featured are in diverse industries from manufacturing to import and export, fashion, beauty, agriculture, tech and many more… these are the bright shining stars in Africa. You may not know their names now but you will be forced to in a few years.”
South Africans featured on the 2017 Forbes Africa 30 Under 30 list:
School Media connects brands with schools, renting advertising space on school property that benefits learners. Begun in 2010, the company’s clients include Gauteng Department of Education and the Orlando Pirates soccer team. Ngwenya has two other enterprises focused on education. Xhuma uses USSD technology to aid communication between schools and parents. The Going Green Project is an education initiative focused on environmental awareness. The company has helped to plant and maintain almost 5, 000 trees at schools throughout South Africa.
Clothing and media lifestyle brand RNDM integrates fashion, music, lifestyle and events with top brands, focusing on the youth. Rubushe is also involved in sport development through a partnership with the Enhanced Sports coaching company, supplying affordable sporting gear to underprivileged schools.
Rethaka’s main product line is locally manufactured and recycled schoolbags with built-in solar-powered study torches. Founded when Kgatlhanye was only 18, the company has formed partnerships with Standard Bank, Red Bull and Unilever. The bags are also exported to Namibia, Turkey, the United Kingdom and Brazil.
Finding an unusual gap in the local market for quality, locally manufactured designer socks, Ngwenya has rapidly grown his niche brand thanks to several celebrity endorsements of Skinny Sbu Socks.
Orgella Media is a wholly black woman-owned media and public relations operation, with non-profit and property divisions.
With offices in Johannesburg, Lagos and London, Sliide is a rapidly expanding African technology company specialising in targeted news and sponsored entertainment content. The company uses 70% of its advertising revenue to donate mobile data to underprivileged youth.
By 2013, after a mere two years in business, Weterings’ Allied Insurance Brokers had grown to become one of the largest African property, casualty, life and medical insurance and reinsurance brokerage companies.
A growing health and lifestyle brand, Diva Slimming and Aesthetics Centre has opened 65 salons across South Africa in the last five years, creating employment opportunities for more than 200 young people.
Secha Capital invests in a wide range of African SMEs using innovative strategies, with a strong focus on developing the management skills of the youthful owners of the enterprises.
For more in-depth interviews with all of the 30 Under 30, visit the Forbes Africa website.
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