From repurposed school bags that provide light sources for underprivileged school children to international award-winning agricultural innovation, young South African entrepreneurs are changing the way in which we approach entrepreneurship by adding a heightened sense of urgency to the need to address social issues through innovation. While most of us dream of winning the lotto before we can make large contributions to our communities – think large scale financial donations, renovation of schools, donations of building supplies – these young men and women are changing the face of South Africa with everyday materials that many of us take for granted. Let’s take a look at five young South Africans to watch…
- Claire Reid, Founder and CEO of Reel Gardening
At the age of 16, Claire Reid’s epic water-saving adventure started as a school project and caught the attention of then Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry, Ronnie Kasrils. Her hypothesis was that she could save 80% of water during seed germination phase by implementing her unique method of planting seeds. As a winner of the International Stockholm Junior Water Prize for South Africa, a custodian for the Woman in Water for Scientific Research Below the Age of 35 Award, and the United Nations Environmental SEED award Reid is a social entrepreneur to watch.
- Thato Kgatlhanye, Founder of Repurpose Schoolbags
Someone who did not need to see the outcome of a Powerball ticket, Thato Kgatlhanye began making a difference to her community long before the public took note of her innovation. In an effort to ensure that school children were able to complete their homework, Thato designed environmentally-friendly, repurposed school bags that have built-in solar panels which can be used as a light in the evenings.
- Mogau Seshoene, Founder of The Lazy Makoti
There is nothing more satisfying than a well prepared, traditional South African Meal. Mogau Seshoene, Founder of The Lazy Makoti, felt this same sentiment when she decided to embark on the journey of teaching South African women how to prepare traditional meals. Not only does this initiative help increase the popularity of traditional South African cuisine, but it also encourages more South Africans to embark on a local culinary journey.
- Siya Beyile, Founder of The Threaded Man
At the age of 22, most young South Africans are completing their tertiary education and are possibly contemplating their path for the future. However, Siya Beyile, Founder of The Threaded Man, founded his own online portal that quickly became the “leading online destination for the modern African man to stay up to date on fashion and original style”, according to IOL.
- Inga Gubeka, Founder of Indalo Décor
The brainchild of Inga Gubeka, Indalo Décor has quickly become of the most successful décor brands to emerge from South Africa. With an aim to cultivate products from natural materials – like wood and leather. A truly unique concept, this 28-year old designer is taking the design world by storm, and has an ever increasing fan base of both local and international décor enthusiasts.
When it comes to making a difference, these entrepreneurs are leading the way, one unique and uplifting innovation at a time. If you’re looking for inspiration, turn towards these juggernauts rather than relying on your latest lottery results to provide you with some motivation.
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