SUCCESS STORIES

It’s not easy being a female entrepreneur, but that didn’t stop this list of great women from going above and beyond in order to reach their goals. Here are 5 South African Women Entrepreneurs’ Success Stories.



  1. Maria Ramos

    Maria Ramos is a Portuguese South African business woman who today is the CEO of ABSA group. She first moved to South Africa from Portugal with her parents where she later became a citizen. After university she primarily worked in finance and banking, taught economics and served as an economist.
    She was appointed the country’s director of general finance, from which she moved to the position of CEO of Transnet in 2004. There she began to transform the country’s economy by reorganizing the debt ridden company. As a result she was ranked by Fortune magazine as one of the most powerful women in international business for four years in a row.


  2. Basetsana Kumalo

    Basetsana Kumalo, also known as Bassie, was part of the beauty pageant circuit since the age of 16 where she was crowned Miss Black South Africa and Miss Soweto. Four years later she was crowned Miss South Africa. While still having the crown she shifted her career by starting to work for the TV programme Top Billing.
    She became a 50% partner of Tswelopele Productions, the company which produces top billing, and executive chairperson of Tswelopele Group and Tswelopele Publishing. But that’s not all; since then she has developed a clothing line, sits on the boards of five companies and endorses a Revlon Hair Product.


  3. Khanyi Dhlomo

    Khanyi first started gracing magazine covers by the age of 15; she went on to be a radio news reader at 18, television newsreader at 20 and editor of True Love at 22. After this short rise to the top and 8 years at True Love, she decided to move to Paris in order to run a South African touring campaign, before studying at Harvard.
    While at Harvard she struck up a plan to publish her own magazine. After returning to South Africa she launched Destiny, a magazine that combined business content and lifestyle. Since then she became a director of the Foschini Retail Group and CEO of Ndalo Media.


  4. Wendy Luhabe

    Wendy is a South African business woman that has pioneered many initiatives in attempts to provide economic empowerment to women. Wendy got her first exercise in social entrepreneurship in 1995 after she founded Bridging the Gap. Since then she went onto found the Women Investment Portfolio Holdings (Wiphold) and was listed as one of the 50 Leading Women Entrepreneurs of the World.
    She is now the Chair in the Women Private Equity Fund and on the board of the IMD Business School. Recently she was also appointed by the US Secretary of State to the Council on Women’s Business Leadership.


  5. Felicia Mabuza-Suttle

    Known as the South African Oprah, Felicia started out by being born into an entrepreneurial family in Sophiatown. After studying at a University in America, she entered the television industry working her way up to an executive position at Houston Public Television. She later returned to South Africa in 1994 where she landed her on TV show on SABC, The Felicia Show.
    She went onto become the executive producer of the Africa Channel and founding member and non-executive director Pamodzi Investment Holdings Ltd. She also owns a successful restaurant and is a bestselling author of the book Dare to Dream.
    So next time you’re struggling to get through a day of running your business, why not look through this list for some inspiration.


With every passing day, our world becomes a bit more tightly interconnected. More than ever, what goes around comes around. Here are 50 tips for success in such a world…



  1. Anytime you interact with another person, the first three words in your head should be: help this person.
  2. If a person is too selfish, nasty or scary for you to help… at the very least do your best not to hurt them.
  3. When you help another, you are demonstrating the kind of person you are, and you are creating the kind of world in which you want to live.
  4. Day after day, be a little bit kinder and a tad wiser than you were the day before.
  5. Always be yourself, unless you are a self-absorbed and self-centered person. In that case, act like someone else for a change.
  6. Be as kind to others as you are to a puppy, and as respectful as you are to your boss.
  7. If you can read and write, you can help someone land a job and a measure of self-sufficiency.
  8. The problem with happiness is that it can be an empty emotion. If you treat yourself to a nice dessert, you might feel happy. But if you eat dessert seven days a week, you might start to feel like an overstuffed pillow.
  9. Don’t try to teach a starving person how to fish. First, give them a fish. Teach them how to fish when the pressure to eat is gone.
  10. When you consider whether you have yet lived up to your potential, ask whether there is more you could be doing to help others in this world.
  11. Draw a circle five miles in diameter around your home. How many people desperately need help that you have the potential to provide them?
  12. If you know a colleague is under pressure to wrap up a special project, provide something that will help him or her do this.
  13. Once fear takes over, you can get stuck in a very bad place. You say things that don’t make any sense, and you don’t think straight. Don’t allow fear to control you.
  14. Intelligence is not only having something of value to say to others, but also knowing what to say differently to each person.
  15. People are at the core of all business and life. Not technology. Not financials. People.
  16. How do you get a terrified person to safety? First, prove they can trust you. Then break their challenge down into small pieces, and prove they can handle it.
  17. The best way to capture someone’s attention is to ask them a question they are interested in answering.
  18. You can make others feel trusted, valuable and important by taking your time to listen to them and repeat accurately what you heard them say.
  19. Beware of advice from – and actions by – people who are rewarded for certain outcomes.
  20. Without examples, your words are little more than abstract babble& most people ignore such clutter. Tell a story!
  21. The timing of your words can be more important than your words. When you choose to communicate often outweighs the words themselves.
  22. It doesn’t matter if you have the best ideas in the world; if you can’t express them clearly, no one will ever understand your insights.
  23. Imagine yourself near the end of your life, in a rocking chair on the porch. Ask yourself, “Will I sit in that chair and be glad that I (spent 60 hours a week in the accounting department)?
  24. Don’t lecture an entry-level person on what it takes to be a leader; don’t bog your CEO down in details she doesn’t need to know.
  25. What do you love so much that you’d gladly do it all week and happily skip the weekend to keeping doing it? Build your career around your answer.
  26. The most attractive thing in the world is a human being who is completely comfortable in his or her own skin. Aim to become one of those people.
  27. Be coherent. If you really want to live by the water, don’t go looking at houses that are three miles away.
  28. Most people have inflated opinions of themselves. Force yourself to adopt objective metrics for assessing yourself.
  29. The more you value the differences that make each of us unique, the more you will bring out the best in both yourself and others.
  30. The more volatile the times, the more essential it is to keep your options open. In risky times, you need more options, not less.
  31. Smart people compromise – it is that simple. The more you feel it MUST be your way… the greater the odds that your way will end in tragedy.
  32. Our world has become too complex for one idea or set of principles to work every time. You need blended solutions that take into account a range of diverse ideas and beliefs.
  33. We are only human, and we make mistakes. We see the world through our own biases and preconceptions; that is not going to change. Let’s all be a bit more humble and open-minded.
  34. Never stop challenging the ideas you love best, otherwise they may someday become the ideas that lead to your downfall.
  35. Humans are inclined to act like the people around us. Be strong enough to resist this temptation if you strongly suspect your friends and neighbors are wrong.
  36. If you say what you want – again and again, both in words to others and in thoughts within your head – eventually you will get it.
  37. It’s always sunny. The only question is how high you have to go.
  38. Most people are ridiculously oversensitive to losses, financial or otherwise. If this is true of you, recognize that this is irrational, and just try again.
  39. Keep the people who don’t work from slowing down your efforts to accomplish great things.
  40. If you have boundless initiative, learn to be patient. If you have infinite patience, learn to take action. You will need both.
  41. Do something 21 times, and it becomes a habit. Do it 210 times, and you become “lucky” to be so successful, healthy and…
  42. While “the price of admission” for a job that you love may make you swallow hard, dig deep and pay it.
  43. Be as persistent at helping others as you are at getting what you want.
  44. The first rule of understanding others is that every human being is complicated. You need to look beyond the surface.
  45. Hear what people say before you translate their message into your own worldview.
  46. Give others clues that you are really listening: nod, ask questions, repeat what they said.
  47. The better able you are to set your own thoughts aside, the better you will be able to manage them when you turn back to them.
  48. The world does not advance in an orderly manner. Opportunities and dangers do not come when most convenient for you. Don’t be that surprised by surprises.
  49. If you imagine the happiness others will experience as a result of your actions, you will feel just as good as they do.
  50. The more you focus on the present, the more pleasure you can get from simply being calm.




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