After the impact of COVID-19 on small businesses in South Africa, this may not seem like a year for entrepreneurship.
However, it’s in environments of rapid change, uncertainty and new needs that innovation really comes to the fore. That’s where entrepreneurs thrive!
The South African business environment in 2021
The economy took a serious knock in 2020. This had a devastating effect on small businesses and start-ups in South Africa. Despite this, it’s not all doom and gloom for entrepreneurship in 2021. Economic recovery may be slow but there are some promising signs.
Back in October 2020, Paystack, a Lagos-based technology company, was acquired by Stripe, an online payments software and finance company in the US. Paystack was working on offering the same service as Stripe in the African market.
The $200-million acquisition shows the potential for growth and entrepreneurship that a company like Stripe sees in African markets, despite the effects of the pandemic. South African entrepreneurs who can also see this potential are well worth keeping an eye on.
South African Entrepreneurs to Watch in 2021
South Africa’s spirit of entrepreneurship is as strong as ever. These are some of the inspiring South African entrepreneurs we believe will continue to do great things in 2021 and beyond.
Kim Whitaker – founder of Ubuntu Beds
Asanda Maqabuka – co-founder of Yojo Food App
Mthatha-based entrepreneur Asanda Maqabuka recognised the need for more food delivery during the pandemic. She created the Yojo Food app to allow restaurants, shisa nyamas and other food establishments to have their food delivered during the lockdown.
Arabella Parkinson – founder of Eat to Thrive
Arabella Parkinson founded Eat to Thrive to promote sustainable food systems and healthy food relationships. During the lockdown, she started offering virtual cooking classes to teach people how to use what they already had in the pantry to make healthy meals.
Qhawe Bula – co-founder of TAQA Digital Library
While he was a second-year Bachelor of Social Sciences student in 2020, Qhawe Bula created TAQA, a digital library of read-along children’s books in all 11 official languages. Bula says the aim is to celebrate African identities and encourage a culture of reading in young children.
Mariam Manack – founder of iTrain
Mariam Manack is the founder of iTrain, a proudly South African movement for women aimed at empowering them through fitness and strength. Mariam holds a BA in Sports Science and was named one of Forbes 30 Under 30 in 2019.
Theo Baloyi – founder of Bathu Shoes
Theo Baloyi is the founder and owner of the first black-owned sneaker brand in South Africa, Bathu Shoes. Baloyi’s vision started in the backroom of his uncle’s house in Alexandra township. It now includes an online shop and 16 retail stores around South Africa.
Cameron Naidoo – founder of Guerilla
Cameron Naidoo is the founder of Guerilla, the creative agency behind AmaMeme, the South African meme platform that took off in 2020. Reactions GIFS and images are a big part of social media for individuals and brands. AmaMeme offers uniquely Mzansi memes and content.
Lesego Mokae – co-founder of Ditsogo Projects
Lesego Mokae started Ditsogo Projects from her garage in Rustenburg. Ditsogo Projects is a 100% black female-owned business that specialises in metal fabrication. Going forward, Lesego intends to establish internships and learnership programmes within her business.
Isaac Mbatha – founder of Sky Tents SA
Isaac Mbatha is the founder and chief executive of Sky Tents SA. The company manufactures and supplies a range of tents, including stretch and pagoda tents. He represented Africa at the Forbes Under 30 Summit in 2019.
Kgahlego Rasebotsa – founder of Interior Bubble
Kgahlego Rasebotsa is the founder and CEO of Interior Bubble, an interior design business based in Limpopo. Starting with just a few scatter cushions she quickly grew her company into a team of eight. She made it onto the Forbes Africa 30 Under 30 list in 2019.
Lizl Naude – creator of My Africa Lap Desk
Calvin Pokgwadi – founder of Stempath Labs
Calvin Pokgwadi started Stempath Labs when he noticed the lack of health-care services in poorer communities. Stempath provides pathology services to rural areas. After opening his first branch in 2015, his business has continued to grow despite being in a highly competitive market.
Entrepreneurship at The Workspace
The Workspace supports and nurtures South African entrepreneurs. Our 2018 Entrepreneur Competition was a great success and we look forward to the day when we can safely run another one. Follow us on Facebook to stay connected.
Our serviced offices and coworking spaces are ideal for new business ventures because they help keep overheads low. Our members also benefit greatly from being able to network with other entrepreneurs and start-ups.
At The Workspace, we offer affordable, fully serviced offices and coworking. All our members have access to meeting rooms, boardrooms and a range of business services. For more information or to book a tour of one of our branches, call us on 087 059 7777 or contact us online.