Women entrepreneurs, corporate leaders and celebrities continued to set the bar high and achieve excellence in entrepreneurship and business this year.
We take a look back at all their accomplishments, whether it was taking on a new C-suite position of a major company or helping to drive innovation on the African continent.
Mabelane was appointed as the new CEO of BPSA earlier this year, and officially took the helm on 1 September.
She made history by becoming the first woman to head the multi-national company.
Mabelane was previously the company’s CFO for six years before her appointment.
Rabana was recently announced as the new chief digital officer of the ICT solutions company BCX. This follows her departure as CEO of online education platfrom, Rekindle Learning, a company she founded.
Rabana has been hailed as a female tech pioneer and innovator in South Africa. This year she also made the Inspiring Fifty Women In Tech list, an initiative that showcases founders of tech companies, women in C-Level positions in technology companies and venture capitalists, among others, with the goal of increasing visibility of their achievements.
Khanyi Dhlomo continued to grow the Ndalo Media empire this year. The publishing house, founded by Dhlomo, was this year announced as the new local publisher of Paris-based fashion magazine brands Elle, and Elle Decoration, becoming the first wholly black-owned media company to secure exclusive licensing for one of the world’s oldest and most popular magazine brands.
The company also publishes award-winning print and digital publications DestinyConnect, Destiny Magazine, and DestinyMan.
Ndalo Media has also expanded its offering this year with the launch of personal development platform, MentorFeed.com
Aisha Pandor’s company, SweepSouth, made headlines earlier this year when they successfully concluded a Series A financing round, led by Smollan, Draper Dark Flow and private investor, DJ Black Coffee.
Pandor is the co-founder and CEO of the on-demand home cleaning platform alongside husband and co-founder Alen Ribic.
In 2016 and 2017 the home cleaning platform achieved several milestones: they expanded into Durban and Pretoria, launched a native mobile app and grew its revenue.
Pandor was this year one of many successful women to be included in the 2017 Destiny Connect’s annual Power of 40 list, and was the only woman tech startup founder nominated for this year’s FNB Business Innovation Awards.
Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct, based at Wits University, found a new leader in Lesley Donna Williams this year.
The initiative, launched this year, works to foster the next generation of digital technology experts, innovators and entrepreneurs.
An entrepreneur herself, Williams is the founder of Impact Hub Johannesburg, which was launched in 2010 and was the first Impact Hub in Africa. She has served on the global Impact Hub Association Board.
In 2011 she was named by the Mail & Guardian as one of its “Top 200 Young South Africans”.
Terry Pheto is an award-winning actress and as of this year, an entrepreneur.
Pheto is one of a number of celebrities who made news this year by launching their own businesses, including Ayanda Thabethe, Thando Thabethe and Cassper Nyovest.
Pheto together with fellow actress and friend Mampho Brescia launched a toy brand Let’s Learn Toys. The range includes building blocks, painting sets and board games.
The 27-year-old Dinkwanyane is an entrepreneur worth watching in the media and public relations space.
This year Dinkwanyane reached an impressive milestone when she made the Forbes 30 Under 30 2017 list, and was recognised for excelling as an entrepreneur.
Dinkwanyane is the founder of 100% black-owned public relations company, Orgella Media, which she launched in 2011 when she was just 21-years-old.
Her company represents celebrities in the entertainment industry, including South African singer and songwriter Donald Moatshe, TV presenter Siya Mdlalose and fashion designer, Paledi Segapo. They also do work for corporate clients such as Avon South Africa and Africa Fashion Week Nigeria.
Chunga is an African contemporary designer and the founder of fashion brand Ri.Ch Factory, which she launched in 2016. Chunga added many achievements to her name this year.
She made her debut at SA Fashion Week, where she surprised the audience with her collaboration with chocolate brand, Aero.
She was also invited to speak at this year’s Facebook Africa Youth Enterprise Day, an event celebrating SA’s young entrepreneurs who have built businesses using online tools.
Chunga also announced earlier this year that Flying Fish would be sponsoring participation in World Fashion Week in Paris 2017, which has been postponed to 2018 because of security concerns.