These three young entrepreneurs, although from different backgrounds and with experience across various sectors, share the same resilient spirit and drive to succeed – no matter what.
Kgahlego Rasebotsa | Founder of Interior Bubble
Armed with a business administration degree and a long-standing affinity for the creative arts, businesswoman Kgahlego Rasebotsa started her company, Interior Bubble, at the tender age of 26. Growing up in Polokwane, Rasebotsa has succeeded in building a formidable business empire from humble beginnings. After graduating, she suffered depression after not being able to find a job. But entrepreneurship provided the answer she was looking for.
Rasebotsa started selling scatter cushions in pop-up stores and over time, expanded her service offering to designing and producing office and home furniture. Today, her company Interior Bubble, is a thriving creative venture that turns 'houses into homes'. In 2019, she made it onto the Forbes 30 Under 30 list – a testament to the fact that hard work and determination can get anyone over the finish line.
Vuyo Pakade | Founder of Foonda
One may look at Vuyo Pakade and his accomplishments as a social entrepreneur and assume that his journey has been easy, when in fact he is a shining example of a South African who has risen up against the odds. Pakade is the son of a single mom who demonstrated, through the unrelenting pursuit of success in her own career in the medical field, that education is a powerful tool for social upliftment and empowerment.
Following in his mother’s footsteps, Pakade graduated with a business science degree in 2017, specialising in economics. He had aspirations to become a chartered accountant, but life had other plans. The emergence of the #FeesMustFall movement resonated with his convictions in the importance of good education and following his own reflections on how to address the need for more equitable learning opportunities, he founded Foonda.
Today, Foonda is a tech platform that makes it easier for students to find and apply for scholarships, bursaries, learnerships and other sponsorship opportunities. The launch of the demo version of Foonda amassed over 800 sign-ups. Pakade’s vision is to help 100,000 youth to find employment by investing in their educational journeys.
Lizl Naudé | Founder of Lilly Loompa Upcycled Homeware
Prior to 2016, young entrepreneur Lizl Naudé found herself up against several insurmountable obstacles, including great financial difficulty. To support her family, she began making handmade jewellery and later, found creative ways to upcycle discarded waste into homeware.
These were the earliest beginnings of Lilly Loompa Hardware, an innovative upcycle business that today is both a profitable venture and a solution to better, more sustainable waste management. Her home is currently the main collection point for waste that is upcycled into products, but in future, she aims to establish a larger collection point in Klapmuts, that will pay community members for the waste they bring in.
During lockdown, Naudé created what has become one of her brand’s flagship products – the My Africa Lap Desk, made from discarded wood. The portable desk allows people to set up a workstation wherever they find themselves and display the desk as a piece of art when not in use. Together with her growing team, she is on a mission to 'transform trash' and is making inroads into solving several social and environmental problems in the process.
These compelling stories of hope and endurance are clear examples of how South African youth can earn a livelihood, support their communities and contribute towards building the small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector. Turbulent economic times pose a very real challenge to future of our country’s youth, but within those challenges lie many opportunities to thrive and grow as a business leader and be an inspiration for the next generation of entrepreneurs.