Top 10 South African Entrepreneurs

Africa has become an investment hotspot in recent years. South Africa has become a platform for international companies to expand into Africa; however, many South Africans entrepreneurs have seen the opportunities and created vast business empires. Here’s a top 10 list of some of the best entrepreneurs that the country has to offer.

Elon Musk

Now living in America, Musk started his business foray with by teaching himself how to program computers and selling computer games. When he started living in America, Musk created PayPal (formally which was bought by Now, Musk has moved onto Space travel with SpaceX, solar electric company SolarCity and electric car company Tesla.

Mark Shuttleworth

Famously for being the first African in space, Mark Shuttleworth has achieved similar sky-high success with his businesses. He first founded Thawte in 1995 which specialises in digital certification and internet security which was sold to VeriSign. Later, he founded Canonical Ltd which provides leadership for the Ubuntu system. He has dual citizenship in the UK and South Africa.

Patrice Motsepe

Sowetan born Patrice Motsepe is a South African magnate who is the founder and executive chairperson of African Rainbow Minerals. Motsepe first became a lawyer specialising in business and mining law. Motsepe soon founded a mining services venture to clean gold dust from inside mine shafts, implementing a system of worker remuneration that combined a low base salary with a profit-sharing bonus. In 2008, he was declared as the 503rd richest person in the world by Forbes.

Anton Rupert

Entrepreneur and conservationist Anton Rupert was the founder of the Rembrandt group. His career lasted over 60 years and created a net worth US$ 2.3 billion. With an initial investment of £10 and together with two fellow investors, he started manufacturing cigarettes in his garage, which he eventually built into the tobacco and industrial conglomerate Rembrandt Group, overseeing its transition to the industrial and luxury branded goods sectors, with Rembrandt eventually splitting into Remgro (an investment company) and Richemont (a Swiss-based luxury goods group).

Tokyo Sexwale

Tokyo Sexwale founded Mvelaphanda Holdings (mvelaphanda is the Venda word for “progress”), a company of which he is still executive chairman. His main interest is oil and diamond mining and has operations across Africa and Russia. On top of this, Sexwale was the host to the South African version of The Apprentice.

Sol Kerzner

The son of Jewish Russian immigrants, Sol Kerzner’s family started a hotel chain. After Kerzner graduated as a chartered accountant, he took over the running of the group and went on to create the most successful hotel group in South Africa, Sun International. He is now the founder, chairman and CEO of Kerzner International and his career spans more than 45 years in the resort industry. Highlights of his career include; Sun City, Mohegan Sun casino in America and the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas.

Raymond Ackerman

After being fired from Checkers, Raymond Ackerman bought and started the retail chain Pick n Pay. Under Ackerman’s leadership, Pick n Pay has grown from 4 stores in Cape Town to one of the largest retail chains in Africa which has a turnover of 37 billion rand. He stepped down from his directorship in 2010.

Cyril Ramaphosa

As well as being an important political negotiator in previous years and currently the ANC deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa has being very successful in business as well. He founded the Shanduka Group which is an investment group. He is the chairperson of Bidvest Group Limited and MTN and holds a number of non-executive directorships.

Herman Mashaba

A true rags-to-riches story, Herman Mashaba created the cosmetics brand Black Like Me. He started by selling his products from the boot of his car and formed the multi-million rand enterprise. Recently, he has started operations in the UK.

Ronnie Apteker

Apteker was the founder of the first internet service provider, Internet Solutions. Other than running and investing in online businesses, he produces films, most notably, Material.