Why 2017 Was The Year Of The Celeb-Entrepreneur

Updated on 20 December 2017

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From Black Coffee and AKA to Terry Pheto and Mampho Brescia, we saw a number of South African celebrities taking the leap into the world of business both through investing and starting their own businesses this year.

Investment in SweepSouth, a digital platform and kids toy store are just a few that stood out.

Here are some notable celeb business moves that impressed us this year that you should know about.

DJ BLACK COFFEE Invests In SweepSouth
One of South Africa’s top DJs, Black Coffee was recently announced as a new incoming private investor in on-demand cleaning startup, SweepSouth’s Series A financing round.

According to SME South Africa, the investment round was led by Smollan, the international retail solutions company, as well as Draper Dark Flow, the Silicon Valley VC Fund for Africa established by Tim Draper.

“DJ Black Coffee is an inspirational and influential international but local-born ambassador with a brand we’re proud to be associated with,” says Aisha PandorSweepSouth co-founder and CEO.


Award-winning actresses Terry Pheto and Mampho Brescia recently announced the launch of a range of educational kids’ toys, Let’s Learn Toys. The founders, in an interview with IOL, said they want their educational toy brand to equip young learners with the skills that will prepare them to be leaders.

The range includes building blocks, painting sets and board games and what sets Let’s Learn Toys apart from its competition, according to the article, is that they have some of the leading internationally recognised, educational development brands such as Gigo, Popular Playthings and EDX-Education.


J’SOMETHING Launches Something’s Cooking by J Restaurant
In April 2017 lead singer of local group MiCasa, Joao da Fonseca, better known as J’Something, launched the Something’s Cooking by J restaurant. Located in Times Square Casino in Menlyn, Pretoria, the restaurant is influenced by his Portuguese heritage and musical roots, according to an SME South Africa article.

The menu is celebrity-inspired with dishes named after popular local musicians. Since the launch, he has introduced dishes inspired by award-winning jazz artist, Hugh Masikela, which will be followed by dishes inspired by DJ Black Coffee.

AYANDA THABETHE Launched Liyanda Hair Salon
Entrepreneur, TV presenter and brand ambassador, Ayanda Thabethe this year launched Liyanda together with business partner, Lindelwa NkambuleLiyanda is an upmarket, luxurious hair, nail and beauty salon, located in Melrose Arch launched in April 2017.

In an interview with Power FMThabethe says what sets Liyanda apart is the level of service they offer.

“Our main focus is service and making sure every customer that walks in leaves 100% satisfied and comes back,” she says.


AKA Launches Beam Digital
South African rap artist, Kiernan Forbes better known as AKA, recently launched Beam Digital, a mobile digital platform on which celebrities (musicians, actors, models and sports players) can engage with their fans.

Beam Digital, according to entertainment magazine The Plug, is a partnership between Forbes’ The Beam Group; Celebrity Services Africa, a leading, global talent and media agency and MiCore Holdings, an innovation-first, mobile technology solutions provider.

Beam Digital’s products will include celebrity-branded smartphone devices made in South Africa, featuring exclusive content and an extensive range of value-added offerings such as loyalty programs and discounts.


TBO TOUCH launches Touch HD and reaches 1 million connections
Thabo “Tbo Touch” Molefe this year reached two major milestones. He launched his online radio station Touch HD in April this year and just recently Touch HD reached 1 million connections according to Yahoo News.

This was a target they were expecting to reach only in March next year. Touch HD has a community of listeners who all chat with each other via a live app, Molefe says in the interview, adding that they’ve created a social platform where people can engage with each other and exchange details – others give away TVs and stoves.


Special mention also goes to the following celebrities and their new ventures:

  • CASSPER NYOVEST (Rapper) – Family Tree Store
  • THANDO THABETHE (Actress, DJ, TV host and brand ambassador) – Thabooty Underwear and Shapewear
  • RIKY RICK (Rapper) – Cotton Club Records
  • BOITY THULO (Actress and presenter) – Boity Toning Support

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