5 inspirational young people who built their businesses from nothing

Lethubuhle Dube | Feb 27, 2022
Let us look at these remarkable stories of local entrepreneurs who have built big businesses and well-known brands from humble beginnings. These tales may inspire others and show what is possible with the right mindset and motivation.

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5 inspirational young people who built their businesses from nothing

The South African government continues failing dismally in creating a healthy environment for job creation, and a country full of potential that once promised all its citizens a better life seems to be collapsing. The government has erected too many barriers to investment in the country's economy, with an increasing number of people reliant on the government for support through one of the biggest welfare programmes in the world. These factors have undermined the economic freedom of many individuals. Economic opportunity, rather than welfare schemes, are the solution to South Africa’s rampant unemployment.

Economic freedom fosters prosperity. To battle the social degeneration of South Africa today, and to assist building an economy that is both dynamic and humane, we have to promote opportunity, self‐sufficiency, and inclusion. Economic freedom is but one step on the path to human flourishing. This is best illustrated by the many young people who have taken it upon themselves to fight unemployment, inequality and poverty by building their own sustainable businesses that have in turn employed many other people.

Let us look at these remarkable stories of local entrepreneurs who have built big businesses and well-known brands from humble beginnings. These tales may inspire others and show what is possible with the right mindset and motivation.

  1. Theo Baloyi – Bathu Shoes

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Theo Baloyi is the founder and owner of the first black-owned sneaker brand in South Africa, Bathu Shoes. His vision started in the backroom of his uncle’s house in Alexandra Township. Baloyi’s business now includes an online shop and 16 retail stores around South Africa. Theo wanted to build something inspirational, that would create employment for the people from Alex and today he employs more than 20 people.

  1. Lebo Gunguluza – Gem

Image source available here.

Lebo Gunguluza is the Founder and Executive Chairman of the Gunguluza Enterprises and Media (GEM) Group established in 2002, which is an integrated media, hospitality, and technology group. Gem Group has diversified to numerous portfolios within the media, hospitality, leisure, and IT spheres which include publishing, television, communication technologies, eventing, hotels and resort, property and financial technologies.  He is one of South Africa’s most established businessmen, also best known for his role and contribution on television show, Dragon’s Den, which too groomed young entrepreneurs through investing in their businesses.

  1. Sne Sthembu – Passcara & Partners Inc

Image source available here.

Sne Sthembu was born and raised in the small town of Eshowe in KwaZulu-Natal, and at 25 she had become admitted as an attorney of the high court. Taking a leap of faith shortly thereafter: she left her job and started her own firm as the founder and director. Her focus is on handling cases dealing with family and personal injury law among others.

  1. Vusi Thembekwayo – MyGrowthFund

Image source available here.

Vusi Thembekwayo is the CEO of venture capital firm, MyGrowthFund. Vusi is also a  global business speaker and serial entrepreneur. He continues to make waves internationally as a thought-provoking young business leader from South Africa with many ideas on solving economic issues in Africa. His mission is to change the African narrative by challenging the mindset and approach towards achieving economic freedom.

  1. Lekau Sehoana – Drip Footwear

Image source available here.

Inspired by music and poverty, Lekau dreamed up Drip Footwear when he could not afford shoes when he was at school. Over the past 2 years he has built a veritable empire and Drip Footwear has opened 16 stores across the country and partnered with big brands some of the biggest celebrities and brands. Today, he is a businessman that is proud of his rags-to-riches story.

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