Everything is possible. Impossible just takes a little longer.” – Wendy Ackerman, Non-Executive Director of Pick N Pay Holdings Limited Earlier this year, we wrote a post about some of South Africa’s top female entrepreneurs and with Women’s Day just around the corner, we thought we’d honour some additional stellar female entrepreneurs making their mark on the world of business.
“Everything is possible. Impossible just takes a little longer.” – Wendy Ackerman, Non-Executive Director of Pick N Pay Holdings Limited
Earlier this year, we wrote a post about some of South Africa’s top female entrepreneurs and with Women’s Day just around the corner, we thought we’d honour some additional stellar female entrepreneurs making their mark on the world of business. South Africa is no stranger to producing impressive entrepreneurial talent, particularly when it comes to women. There are many powerful female leaders across a variety of industries, each bringing with them their own unique brand of intelligence, determination, creativity and strength, with just the right amount of fighting spirit. Building a business from the ground up is no simple task, but the following women prove time and time again that if you want something badly enough, with hard work and drive, almost anything and everything is achievable.
Esmaré Weideman – CEO of Media24
After graduating cum laude with her BComm degree from Stellenbosch University, Esmaré Weideman embarked on her journey at Media24, taking up the role of trainee reporter atDie Burger. Over the years, she worked her way up the ladder, becoming the Editor in Chief of some of the company’s most popular and biggest selling magazines, namely Huisgenoot,DRUM and YOU, the last for which she was the youngest-ever editor. 2011 became Weideman’s golden year, when she assumed the position of CEO, becoming the first woman in the company’s history to receive this promotion. Since then, she has worked tirelessly to establish Media24 as one of the leading digital media companies in the whole of Africa and to bring in exciting and lucrative new business. In 2012, Weideman was a finalist in the Media Woman of the Decade Award – a nod to her true dedication to the media industry.
Michelle Okafor – Founder of Michelle Okafor African Designs
Following a visit to see her husband’s family in Nigeria in 2009, Michelle Okafor found herself completely taken by the beautiful, bright and eye-catching fabrics she saw all around her in the West African country. Feeling inspired, she returned to South Africa, determined to create exquisite pieces for everyday wear using the fabrics she had seen. She continued to work in her day job as a travel agent for 18 months, during which time she imported fabrics and sourced the best designers and seamstresses she could find – all important aspects for laying the ground work for her new venture. By the end of 2012, she began working on Michelle Okafor African Designs full time, and as they say, the rest is history. Today, her unique and colourful designs can be found in a number of boutiques, as well as on her online store, and include everything from dresses to jackets, shoes and accessories. Her vision to marry traditional African culture with urbanity can be seen clearly in every item, making Michelle Okafor African Designs perfect for the modern, powerful woman of today.
Wendy Luhabe – Co-Founder of Wiphold and Chairwoman of the Women Private Equity Fund
Bringing with her a wealth of knowledge and expertise, over the years Wendy Luhabe has been fiercely committed to empowering women in business and championing their economic emancipation. Bridging the Gap, Luhabe’s human resources and recruitment firm, was started in 1991, followed by Luhabe co-founding the Women Investment Portfolio Holdings (Wiphold) in 1994. She remained its President until 2000, and a year later, it became the first women-owned company to be listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE). She then went on to become the chancellor of the University of Johannesburg. Luhabe is dedicated to helping women in communities across the country develop themselves and their businesses, offering the necessary guidance and advice they require to thrive.
Nicky Newton-King – CEO of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange
What started out as a legal task dealing with insider training soon developed into a long-standing relationship between Nicky Newton-King and the JSE. Trained as a lawyer, Newton-King holds three law degrees and was one of the primary drafters of the Insider Trading Act. She served as the Deputy CEO under Russell Loubser for nine years before being named CEO of the JSE in 2012, making her the first woman to hold this position. On top of performing this prestigious role, Newton-King is also a member of the Financial Markets Advisory Board. In 2003, Newton-King was named South Africa’s Business Woman of the Year, an outstanding accolade that only validated her hard work and commitment to the business sector.
This Women’s Day, we salute the tenacious, strong and successful South African women who continue to make their mark on the business world and to bring their unique entrepreneurial flavour to an every-expanding industry.
If you’re a female entrepreneur in the making, let Sage One be by your side as you divide and conquer – because after all, every effective woman deserves effective software backing her as she makes her special mark.
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