The Words Of Wisdom Some Of The Continent’s Smartest Women Do Business By

Updated on 30 November 2017

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The Words Of Wisdom Some Of The Continent's Smartest Women Do Business By

“Do unto others as you would like them to do unto you” is the principle that powerhouse female entrepreneur, Aisha Pandor does business by.

This also forms the foundation of all her business decisions – making sure that her customers and team are treated in the best possible way.

Pandor’s company, SweepSouth is regarded as one of the leading startups in the country. This year alone, they have scored numerous milestones including successful funding rounds and expanding their national footprint.

Pandor is just one of the many successful women tech entrepreneurs included in this year’s Destiny Connect’s annual Power of 40 list, which celebrates some of SA’s biggest talent including academics, corporate leaders and musicians.

Announced last week, the list profiles 40 of the country’s, and Africa’s most dynamic movers and shakers and this year saw some of the leading female techpreneurs make the cut including 24-year-old bright spark, Lethabo Motsoaledi, co-founder of Motsoaledi & West and Ghanaina tech guru, Ethel Cofie.

They shared what they believe it takes to succeed as an entrepreneur.

Here’s what these 5 women tech entrepreneurs want you to know about finding success. 

‘Do Unto Others’

Aisha Pandor – Co-founder of SweepSouth

SweepSouth is the first online platform for booking, paying for and managing home cleaning services from your laptop, phone or tablet, and a 500 Startups Batch 14 alum.

Why She’s BOSS: Pandor has an impressive line-up of accolades that include being named one of the top 50 Most Inspiring Women In Tech, she was named one of Africa’s Breakthrough Female Innovators of 2017 by the World Economic Forum. She was both the Female Tech/E-Commerce Entrepreneur and Best Black Tech/E-Commerce Entrepreneur at the PriceCheck Tech & E-Commerce Awards last year as well.

“One of my core beliefs in life is in the Golden Principle – that you should do to others what you would like to be done to yourself and when you draw back on that belief it makes doing business, dealing with people, friends and family and even strangers so much easier because when making a decision, if you just go back to that core belief it becomes really easy to decide on the right action.”


‘It Takes Sacrifice To Succeed’

Ethel Cofie – ​CEO of EDEL Technology Consulting

EDEL is an IT consulting company with a presence in West Africa and Europe. She is also the founder of Women in Tech Africa, Africa’s largest women in tech group with members in over 30 African countries and in the diaspora and growing.

Why She’s BOSS: Cofie was this year named one of the Top 5 Women impacting IT in Africa and her company won the IT Consulting Firm of the Year at the Ghana Telecom and IT Awards. She was also shortlisted for the United Nations GEM Tech Awards.

“I want people to know that entrepreneurship isn’t always glamorous or easy. It requires hard work and a lot of sacrifice but when it succeeds, it’s all worth it.”


‘You’ve Got To Roll With The Punches’

Portia Masimula – CEO and Co-founder of Karisani IT

Launched in Cape Town in 2013, Karisani IT, is a startup that enables businesses to grow and operate effectively through mobile and web applications. In 2016 Karisani launched AppyApps, a brand-builder website, together with SwingDev for US-based global satellite television channel, ESPN.

Why She’s BOSS: 30-year-old Masimula has been profiled by Forbes Woman Africa and listed as a young independent business leader and game changer on The Young Independent’s Mzansi 100. She is currently a judge on Inspiring Fifty, a show recognizing women in technology and innovation.

“What I’ve learnt through my entrepreneurial journey is to roll with the punches even when things aren’t looking great, because yes, entrepreneurship is tough. There will be days when there is no money coming in. But there are a few things that have kept me going to be where I am, which is self-motivation, personal resilience and the will of wanting to build a successful and a sustainable business. Passion as well is one of the things that have kept me going and fundamentally, when I started the business [I wanted] to empower myself and others. So yes, entrepreneurship is not an easy journey, but through resilience, through determination and hard work success is inevitable.”


‘Behave Like An Entrepreneur’

Lethabo Motsoaledi – Co-founder and co-CEO Motsoaledi & West (M&W)

M&W is a design thinking consultancy that aims to help companies fast-track innovation through applying accelerated design thinking methodology.

Why She’s BOSS: At just 24, Motsoaledi is a 2015 Allan Gray Orbis Foundation Fellow and 2016 Mandela Rhodes scholar. She is also one of Mail & Guardian’s 2017 Top 200 Young South Africans, which celebrates powerful, successful young achievers. She is listed alongside trailblazers such as Aisha Pandor and Rapelang Rabana as Inspiring Fifty’s SA Women in Tech.

“The best advice I’ve received was to unlearn all the anti-entrepreneurial characteristics I was taught as a young girl like having to be polite all the time or being 100% sure before doing anything or even to know my place. My life changed and I became a true entrepreneur the day I decided to knock on closed doors, try everything and embrace failure and to deal with rejection by just putting myself out there. This is now my daily mantra.”


‘Do You!’

Lindiwe Matlali – Founder and CEO at Africa Teen Geeks

Africa Teen Geeks is a non-profit organisation that teaches school children and unemployed youth how to code.

Why She’s BOSS: Also part of Inspiring Fifty’s SA Women in Tech, Matlali is also a Young Business Awards top 3 finalist and was in Mail & Guardian’s Top Young South Africans 2014. Africa Teen Geeks was recently named a finalist in the UN Women /ITU Prestigious Equals in Tech awards.

“When I was a teenager struggling with issues of identity and wanting to fit in, my grandfather advised me to stop comparing my weaknesses with other people’s strengths. That has helped me to get to where I am and even when I started my career and a lot of people were comparing me to how quickly other people were rising, I was able to focus on what I could control and what I wanted to achieve, stay in my lane and run my own race.”

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