South Africa has produced many impressive entrepreneurs who have made significant contributions to various industries both locally and globally.

Here are 20 South African entrepreneurs who have made their mark on the business world.

  1. Elon Musk: Perhaps the most well-known South African entrepreneur on the global stage, Musk is the CEO of SpaceX, Tesla Inc., Neuralink, and The Boring Company. Born and raised in Pretoria, Musk moved to the U.S. to attend the University of Pennsylvania. He has since revolutionized the electric car industry with Tesla and the space industry with SpaceX.
  2. Patrice Motsepe: The founder of African Rainbow Minerals, Motsepe became the first Black African billionaire. He is also the owner of Mamelodi Sundowns, a football club in the Premier Soccer League.
  3. Mark Shuttleworth: Founder of Canonical Ltd., the company behind the Ubuntu Linux distribution, Shuttleworth made his fortune by selling his internet security company, Thawte, to VeriSign. He also became the first South African in space in 2002.
  4. Herman Mashaba: Mashaba is the founder of Black Like Me, a hair product company that he started during the Apartheid era. He later became the mayor of Johannesburg.
  5. Adrian Gore: Gore is the founder and group chief executive of Discovery Ltd., a global financial services organization offering products including health insurance, life insurance, and investments.
  6. Wendy Appelbaum: Appelbaum, one of the richest women in Africa, is a director at Liberty Investors. She also owns De Morgenzon, a wine estate in Stellenbosch.
  7. Phuti Mahanyele-Dabengwa: Mahanyele-Dabengwa is the CEO of Naspers South Africa. She was also the executive chairperson of Sigma Capital, an investment holding company.
  8. Magda Wierzycka: Wierzycka is the co-founder and CEO of Sygnia, a fintech company based in Cape Town. She is also one of the richest women in South Africa.
  9. Koos Bekker: Bekker transformed the South African media group Naspers into a multinational internet and media group. He served as CEO for 17 years without receiving a salary, instead opting for stock option compensation.
  10. Rapelang Rabana: Rabana is a computer scientist, entrepreneur, and keynote speaker. She founded Rekindle Learning, a learning technology company.
  11. Romeo Kumalo: Kumalo is a well-known figure in the telecoms industry and is the co-founder of Washirika 3 Pty Ltd, a diversified investment holding company.
  12. Khanyi Dhlomo: Dhlomo is the founder of Ndalo Media and Ndalo Luxury Ventures. She is one of the most influential women in South African media.
  13. Lebo Gunguluza: Gunguluza is a successful entrepreneur, turnaround strategist, and inspirational business speaker. He is the founder and executive chairman of the Gem Group of Companies.
  14. Vusi Thembekwayo: At 25, Thembekwayo was the youngest director of a multi-national, turning over R17bn a year. He now runs a boutique investment & advisory firm in Africa.
  15. Vinny Lingham: Lingham is a serial entrepreneur who’s founded a number of tech startups, including Civic, Gyft, and Yola Inc. He is also a Shark on South Africa’s “Shark Tank”.
  16. Basani Maluleke: Maluleke is the former CEO of African Bank. She was one of the only black women CEOs in South Africa’s banking sector.
  17. Allan Knott-Craig: A successful entrepreneur and business executive, Knott-Craig is the founder of Project Isizwe, a non-profit organization which aims to bring the internet to people across Africa.
  18. Judy Dlamini: Dlamini is the founder and executive chairman of the Mbekani Group. She’s also the former chancellor of the University of the Witwatersrand and author of “Equal but Different”.
  19. Sipho Nkosi: Nkosi is the former CEO of Exxaro Resources and the former president of the South African Chamber of Mines. He’s known for his significant contributions to the mining industry.
  20. Mike Eilertsen: Eilertsen started his entrepreneurial journey as a waiter and went on to establish the LIVE OUT LOUD Media Group company. He’s also behind the luxury magazine, “Live Out Loud”, and the entrepreneur reality show, “The Big Break Legacy”.

These individuals demonstrate the immense entrepreneurial talent coming out of South Africa. They have not only built successful businesses but also contributed significantly to the South African economy and society, creating jobs and opportunities for others.

Their stories serve as inspiration for the next generation of South African entrepreneurs.

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