11 South African Entrepreneurs Under 30 to Watch


There’s a group of change-makers that are shaking up the business landscape of South Africa and they’ve got one thing in common – they’re under 30!

The 2018 Forbes Africa Top 30 Under 30 is a list of Africa’s most promising young game-changers. Inspired by the growing number of young men and women entrepreneurs, Forbes Africa has expanded their 4th annual list to 30 influencers in three respective sectors: business, creatives and technology.

In this year’s business category, a whopping 11 South African entrepreneurs were featured on the list. Find out who they are, what they do and why you need to watch their space.

Alexander Knieps, 27

Alexander Knieps is the founder and CEO of Printulu, an online printing firm that offers offline marketing material for businesses of all sizes. Knieps, who’s originally from Germany, founded Printulu in 2016 and has brought disruption to the idea that print is dead in South Africa.

Knieps sprouts from three-generations of entrepreneurs and writes in his blog on Printulu that it’s easier to start a company now than it was before, particularly if it’s digital business, because much fewer resources are required.

Alexander Knieps


Anelisa Mntuyedwa, 28

Anelisa Mntuyedwa is the founder of Gilbert Civils, a construction company in the Eastern Cape. Mntuyedwa, who grew up in Chalumna, tells Forbes Africa that from about age 10, she had big dreams to be an entrepreneur. She says she was inspired by her father and mother who had jobs but always had a business on the side.

After completing her BSc Honours in Soil Science in 2013, she set up Gilbert Civils which has been used by Buffalo City and DNA Structures among others.

 Jack Mthembu, 27

Jack Mthembu is the founder and CEO of The Entrepreneurs Club and First One Adventures, a campsite that facilitates programmes such as life coaching and leadership training for young people. Mthembu founded both companies in 2014 while he was still at student at North West University.

In an interview with Business Report, the accounting graduate says he’s been motivated by President Cyril Ramaphosa’s bid to use entrepreneurship to create jobs and grow the economy. “We want to inculcate an entrepreneurship culture among learners so that they can study entrepreneurship in university and go on to become job creators.”

Joey Friedman, 26

Joey Friedman is the director of LA Group of Companies, a group that specialises in event management and premium furniture and décor hire. Before tackling the Lounge Around (LA) venture in 2013, Friedman already showcased his passion for entrepreneurship when he started Bobble, a bottle that filters water, and Fresh Realty, an estate agency.

Friedman previously told Forbes Africa that he saw his father run a business that eventually went bankrupt. However, he added that he felt it was his destiny to follow in his father’s footsteps to make a business that truly works. By supplying for events like the Vodacom Durban July and DStv Delicious Festival, Friedman is already in the fast lane to success.

Joey Friedman


Reabetswe Ngwane, 25

Reabetswe Ngwane is an innovative young designer and the co-founder of KreamFields and Atyre, a premium producer and retailer of eco-friendly handbags. Ngwane was raised in Mogwase near Rustenburg where she first saw the potential of recycling tyres to make beautiful, sustainable fashion accessories.

“We (Atyre) are committed to continually innovating the craft of bag making, to not only be ecologically friendly and sustainable, but also socially inclusive by working with local communities to eradicate poverty,” Ngwane writes in a letter on Atyre. This young entrepreneur was also selected as one of News24’s 100 Young Mandela’s this year.

Roger Boniface, 29

Roger Boniface is the managing director of three vastly diverse companies: JCB Wholesale, EDISIM and Artson. The most striking of these, EDISIM, is a training provider that uses simulation to bring real-world learning experiences to the classroom.

‘’The simulations I use as a tool already have immense credibility as they are used by over 110,000 students in North America alone, but that alone is not enough so I too need to build credibility and that happens slowly,’’ Boniface tells Business Insider South Africa. He says that the acknowledgement from Forbes has helped build this credibility by highlighting his presence and contributions at some of the leading business schools and institutions in Africa and America.

Boniface, who is a UJ and Clayton State University graduate himself, has integrated these simulations in lectures at Wits and GIBS among other business schools. “As I improve my credibility it creates more opportunities for my entrepreneurial journey and Forbes has certainly supported this in many regards,” he says.

Roger Boniface


Sihle Ndlela, 29

Sihle Ndlela is the co-founder of Majozi Bros Construction, a Durban-based construction company. From having to drop out of university after his father’s death to selling Coco-cola on the beach, Ndlela has had a full-faceted journey to get where he is today. Together with his co-founder, Simphiwe Majozi, he finally found his gap in the construction industry and started Majozi Bros seven years ago.

Going forward, Ndlela has high hopes for the future of Majozi Bros. “We always had one vision, to build the biggest property group on the continent. All the money we make is reinvested into marketing and developing our core staff and ourselves and in property,” he previously told The Mercury.

Vere Shaba, 29

Vere Shaba, a UCT engineering graduate, is an award-winning mechanical engineer and the founder and director of Shaba Green Building Design & Engineering. She used the experience she gained from working for multinational engineering consulting firms to start her own company that combines her two passions: engineering and sustainability.

“At Shaba & Ramplin, our vision is to maximise sustainability through minimising the environmental effect of construction on the natural environment through engineering solutions,” Shaba previously told Lionesses of Africa. Shaba is also a special features contributor for the Mail & Guardian.

Vere Shaba


Wesley Beneke, 29

Wesley Beneke is the founder and CEO of WCB Construction and WCB Property Development. Beneke, who is a Stellenbosch University and CPUT alumnus, started WCB Construction in 2015. Less than three years later, they’re providing infrastructure for clients such as the Western Cape Government and the South African Road Agency.

Wesley Beneke


Zareef Minty, 24

Zareef Minty is the founder and CEO of ZRF Holdings, a holdings company that houses a PR company, a clothing company and a law firm. This go-getting WITS graduate was also in the Mail & Guardian’s Top 200 List in 2014 and even wrote his own book Empire.

Minty’s book is aimed to help young people learn valuable business lessons such as the importance of education, time management and networking. “From when I was very young, I believed that whatever you want to become, you have to attract it to yourself. I got close to people I admired and asked them to mentor me,” he previously told Entrepreneur Magazine.

Zuko Tisani, 25

Zuko Tisani is the founder of Legazy Technology Conferencing, a full-service business that supports tech start-ups in South Africa. Tisani, a UCT graduate, went into a corporate development career straight after university but didn’t feel completely fulfilled. He then applied and got a letter of intent for the rights to host a new Web Summit Conference in South Africa in 2018. From there Legacy Technology Conferencing was born.

“At Legazy, we honour those who want to change the world. Our existence is to uplift the South African start-up ecosystem and not only be bystanders in the direction of the world in this forth industrial revolution (information era) but to be part of the conversations; decision making and game-changing,” Tisani says.

Zuko Tisani


*Forbes Africa sifted through over 600 nominations and considered their business size, revenue, location, potential, struggles, social impact and resilience for the selection process. A panel of judges then debated the final 90 to bring you the Top 30 Under 30 in the three respective categories.

This post is sponsored by Volkswagen Touareg and produced by BrandStudio24.