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3 Local Businesswomen Making a Difference in South Africa

04 August 2021
3 Local Businesswomen Making a Difference in  South Africa -  august hoy

Starting a business is a challenge irrespective of gender or age but business remains a male-dominated industry even in the current economic climate. According to recent statistics, women now own 36% of small businesses with the number of women-owned businesses increasing by up to 4.2% per year.

But, despite the odds, there are numerous female South Africans who have stepped up to the plate and, have not only accepted the entrepreneurial challenge but have dominated in their new roles.

From agriculture to law and manicured nails, take a look at how these incredible female entrepreneurs have made a difference in South Africa.

1. Siphesihle Kwetana

After failing matric, Siphesihle knew that she had to do something but had no idea that this ‘something’ would lead to her starting her own business in the agriculture sector.

Siphesihle’s journey started when she opened a small restaurant where she also prepared the food. After frequenting the local supermarkets for vegetables, she soon came to notice that often the supermarkets had no stock of the vegetables she needed. This, in turn, meant that she could not prepare food for her restaurant.

After inquiring, Siphesihle learnt that the vegetables were being delivered from other provinces which were unreliable, expensive and took longer. And this is where her journey into agriculture began.

With this notion, Siphesihle was determined to make a difference in the agricultural sector to help supply fresh vegetables to local supermarkets. However, she did not realise that this journey would be as difficult to embark on as a young woman in South Africa.

After many unsuccessful attempts with large corporate companies, Siphesihle’s husband approached the corporates who finally accepted their proposal.

The next year, Siphesihle started the Siphe Development and Capacitation Agency which she co-owned with her husband. This helped her to supply local supermarkets with vegetables.

Now, at the age of 25, she owns two farms in Mthatha, employs 20 workers and grows crops for Pick n Pay and Food Lovers’ Market in four towns.

Image Source: Facebook

2. Sne Mthembu

While she had been set to become a doctor, this reality changed for Sne after shadowing a magistrate in Grade 11 as a part of a Life Orientation project.

After the day of shadowing, Sne realised that law is interesting and that there are people who she could help and thus began her journey on the road to becoming a lawyer.

However, after studying law for four years at UKZN and completing her Practical Legal Training, she could not find a law firm to complete her articles. After months of searching, Sne finally got a call from a law firm that hired her to complete her articles.

In 2019, the high court admitted her as a legal practitioner.

After completing her articles, Sne stayed on at the law firm but was dissatisfied earning an intern’s salary as a qualified legal practitioner. This spurred her on to take her life into her own hands and start her own law firm at the age of 25.

Despite the challenges faced by running your own firm, Sne is now representing clients under her own name as the owner of her own legal practice.

Image Source: Supplied to DRUM

3. Aisha Pandor

Hard work and a lot of sacrifices is what it took to realise Aisha’s dream and make a difference in, now, over 20 000 domestic worker’s lives.

Together with her husband, Aisha co-founded SweepSouth – an app allowing users to book and pay for cleaning services. The app allows users to select how frequently they would like their homes cleaned and are charged according to the number of rooms and additional services required.

For Aisha, the app was more about connecting cleaners with clients but to create a better quality of life for domestic workers by ensuring that they receive better rates for the work being completed.

After completing her PhD in human genetics at the University of Cape Town, Aisha worked as a management consultant but felt that she could make a more positive impact on the country by starting her own business.

Around this time, their domestic worker went on holiday leaving Aisha with the task to find a part-time replacement. Frustrated by the entire process, Aisha got the idea to create an app to connect clients with domestic workers and, thus, SweepSouth was born.

Since then SweepSouth has expanded offering outdoor cleaning services in a new app called SweepSouth Connect. This platform is also able to connect clients with local plumbers, electricians, handymen and locksmiths.

For her innovative app, Aisha scooped the Forbes Woman in Africa Technology and Innovation award out of a pool of hundreds of women.

Image Source: Supplied to DRUM


Thank you to the hardworking women who continue to push the limits of female entrepreneurship and making a difference in South Africa.

Know of any female entrepreneurs that you would like to bring recognition to? Be sure to share this information in the comments on our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages.

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