SA Entrepreneurs Who Started From The Bottom Now They’re Here
With R60 to his name after having graduated in 1994, he joined th SABC where he had made a dramatic rise to being marketing manager of Metro FM. He then left Metro to work for an ad agency called herdbuoys before he decided to be his own man and build an empire with these very words “I set 3 goals:
"To become a millionaire by the age of 25“
"To become a multimillionaire by the age of 35“
"To become a billionaire by the age of 45“
And with these words he became a force to be reckoned with becoming a millionaire by 27 and heading up his own empire called guguluza enterprises and media group.
You probably haven’t heard of him but you see his influence each and every day. You see it on the well chiseled body’s of body builders or just your average Joe who wants to become the hulk. The whole of South Africa was witness to it when boity went full monty and broke the internet. His girlfriend at the time mixed creatin formulas with a hand-cracked washing machine and 15 years later Albe took the formula from a worthless concoction to a billion rand enterprise we know as USN.
How do you turn R800 into a billion rand plus idea you ask?? easy you start a small 118m2 shop in one of the busiest malls in the country where management tells you that you are only allowed to serve your customers five proteins and 2 starches, no desserts, no coffees, no salads, 1 glass of red or white wine and doors must be closed by 7pm. YOU SEE ITS EASY
Rob Stokes is the founder of the quirk digital agency, South Africa’s biggest independent marketing company which was an idea that started in 1999 on a couch at 3am. This same idea in 2014 had consolidated revenues of more than R140 million was later bought for a reported R350 to R400 million by WPP (wire and plastic products)
Now living in America, Musk started his foray into business by teaching himself how to program computers and selling computer games. When he started living in America, Musk created PayPal (formerly X.com) which was bought by eBay.com. Now, Musk has moved onto space travel with SpaceX, solar electric company SolarCity and electric car company Tesla and is said to be worth an estimated R148,75 billion
With a last name that accurately predicted his future as 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 and with a net worth of around R6.25 billion...where’s the limit again??
Sowetan-born Patrice Motsepe is a South African magnate and founder and executive chairperson of African Rainbow Minerals. Motsepe first became a lawyer specialising in business and mining law. He 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 the 503rd richest person in the world by Forbes and now in 2015 with a net worth of R28,75 billion he doesnt even crack the top 500. Oh oh how times have changed.
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 he has operations across Africa and Russia. On top of this, Sexwale was the host to the South African version of The Apprentice and with a net worth of R2,5 billion he was more than worthy to play the role.
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 and all these years have accumulated him a net worth of more than R5 billion. Highlights of his career include; Sun City, Mohegan Sun casino in America and the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas.
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 four stores in Cape Town to one of the largest retail chains in Africa, which has a turnover of R37-billion. He ended up eventually stepping down from his directorship in 2010 and in 2015 has amassed an estimated R 6.25 billion.