2014 was the year for young entrepreneurs looking to make a mark in the South African startup scene. These innovative minds are not only solving problems but also creating job opportunities in the country.
Here are five of SME South Africa’s brightest young entrepreneurs whose startups are set to make waves in 2015:
1. Tokologo Phetla (19) and Matthew Piper (21) – Student Investor
These student entrepreneurs, hailing from Pretoria and Cape Town, created a platform which teaches aspiring student investors how to: invest, where to invest and also offers other investment-related tools and information. Phetla has strong ambitions and aims to become the President of South Africa some day.
2. Matthew Looi (24), Lungi Mbenyane (23) and Seipati Mohapi (29) – BookParty
These youngsters met at the Lean Startup Machine Johannesburg this year, the result of which is BookParty, an app which the founders hope will bring book lovers together. The app allows users to give away or swap books with other users, and is a platform for BookParty events. The trio have one mission and that is to “make reading cool again.
3. Wongama Baleni (25) – Department of Coffee
This young ‘trep started a township-based, black-owned coffee shop in Khayelitsha, Cape Town. He not only teaches eager volunteers how to prepare good coffee, but to also become entrepreneurs themselves. Baleni wishes to empower his employees to open pop-up food and beverage shops in the future. Read more
4. Bonolo Mataboge (19) – Afriblossom
As a child growing up with Blount’s disease, a growth disorder of the shin bone that resulted in five surgeries, Mataboge is a testament to not letting your circumstances limit your future. The young business woman defeated her disability by starting a clothing range – Afriblossom – which caters for fuller-figured, curvy women from sizes 34 up to 46. “I am building an empire one stitch at a time,” the teen sensation says. Read more
5. Sam Berger (12) – GeyCheck
Youngest trailblazer and computer wizard, Sam Berger, designed a geyser app which can detect whether the geyser is in or out of guarantee, taking out the hassle of climbing onto the roof to get the serial number and date code. Berger was also this year’s finalists for the Sanlam/Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year competition. When Berger was 10 years old he bought himself a computer with his savings.