10 Successful SA Women Entrepreneurs’ Top Advice On Balancing Work And Family

10 Successful SA Women Entrepreneurs’ Top Advice On Balancing Work And Family


12Farah Fortune

Farah Fortune
  • Entrepreneur: Farah Fortune
  • Company: African Star Communications
  • Family: One child
  • Contact: www.africanstar.co.za

Farah Fortune resigned from her previous position and started her business from her bedroom floor. Fortune soon found herself sharing two-minute noodles with her daughter as the money began to run out.

Fortune had to momentarily shelve her dream of starting her own business and work for a PR company in order to support her daughter. She hated every minute of it so when her CC registration finally come through, she walked out the door.

Today, African Star Communications represents high-profile rappers such as K.O and Solo, and stand-up comedians Loyiso Gola and Jason Goliath. What made Fortune different from other PR firms is she took on small clients and made them into big stars.

Fortune revealed:

“My daughter keeps me motivated; she needs clothes on her back and food in her stomach. Even if this didn’t work for me, I’d scrub toilets to make sure she had what she needed. I will never see my child suffer.”

Fortune believes that balancing work and home isn’t easy at all; she has a demanding career and considers herself very lucky to have an amazing support system. Fortune doesn’t feel like she’s missing out on anything as her daughter is her priority she makes sure she’s always there for her.

Read more on Farah Fortune’s journey to success here.

11Lize Fouche

Lize Fouche
  • Entrepreneur: Lize Fouche
  • Company: Number 1 Foods
  • Family: Husband and two children

Lize Fouche didn’t consider her muesli a viable entrepreneurial idea until her baby girl was born and she needed to bring in extra income.

As her daughter grew, it became harder to care for her and watch over muesli roasting in the oven: “As orders grew we took our last few thousand rand and tried to build a steel roasting drum.”

“We inadvertently created a muesli pop that would later become a popular product in our range. With a few tries we then mastered roasting muesli in the bigger roaster.” Fouche’s Nutri-start product is now available in Pick n Pays around the country.

“We found the buyer really supportive of our business, not like the horror stories you hear of large retailers steam-rolling small businesses.”

“As a mother entering the business world, I had to really persevere when it came to pitching my product to various businesses. It took time convincing my family that this was the right thing to do. With a six-month-old and two-year-old, I had to juggle motherhood and business, sometimes taking my children with me to business meetings because I didn’t have a babysitter.”

Read more on Lize Fouche here.

10Vanessa Gounden

Vanessa Gounden
  • Entrepreneur: Vanessa Gounden
  • Company: HolGoun Investment Holdings
  • Family: Husband and two children
  • Contact: www.holgoun.co.za

In 2003 Vanessa Gouden founded HolGoun Investment Holdings with her husband. HolGoun’s successful business approach is that it only invests in business and projects that the company can directly grow and develop.

This business approach has assisted HolGoun is acquiring a strong and diverse portfolio of investments in several sectors including mining, financial services, healthcare, property, media and entertainment, fashion, security, and film production.

“I worked from home, with my first office located in a bedroom and consisting of a computer and a desk,” revealed Gouden. Despite her humble beginnings, HolGoun is valued at more than R2.9 billion and Gouden enjoys her time creating her own fashion label called Vanessa G, which is part of HolGoun Investment Holdings.

Her daughter models for her fashion brand and her son, a musician and producer, runs Goliath, a boutique record label that supports and promotes local talent.

“My husband and I have been together since high school,” says Gouden. “We are cut from the same cloth with the same political, social and religious inclinations. The family value system that was inculcated in us as we were growing up led us to manage political, family and business responsibilities without compromising one for the other.”

Read more on Vanessa Gounden here.

9Angel Jones

Angel Jones

In 2003 Jones launched her business Homecoming Revolution, “as a website to tell the stories of people who have come home – the good bits and the bad.” The message was, “You’re not a failure if you come back; you’re a pioneer, entrepreneur and revolutionary, and look at all these amazing things that are possible. Don’t wait till it gets better, come home and make it better.”

In 2011 Jones managed to make Homecoming Revolution a profitable business and now focuses all her time on it. As a mother of two Jones works hard to keep her family happy and spends as much time with them as she can. Jones is a great role model for her children showing them how to go after their dreams and do something every day that they love.

Jones believes that:

“The best way to make your children happy is to be a happy parent.”

This is what she uses to keep her work and home balance in check. Whenever she’s around her children she makes sure to be positive and happy with them, giving them a happy positive outlook on life.

Find out more about Homecoming Revolution here.

8Sonia Booth

Sonia Booth
  • Entrepreneur: Sonia Booth
  • Company: Bonneventia S Footwear
  • Family: Husband and two children

After coming second in Miss South African and becoming an international model, Sonia Booth decided to turn her attention to making her own shoe line. She founded Bonneventia S Footwear and manufactures her shoes in Johannesburg. Local designer Thula Sindi has even used Sonia’s shoes in his shows and more local designers are following suit.

Her business has grown into successful enterprise. Booth now offers her customer pedicures while they wait for their custom made shoes to be made.

“I manage with great difficulty. I have a great support system with my husband, my mom and Gogo Maureen who helps care for my son. I don’t frequent the factory unless necessary. This means I can do the administration work from home and be with my family.”

Read more on Sonia Booth here.

7Nicole Stephens

Nicole Stephens

Nicole Stephens’s business consists of four women who all operate on flexitime. The Recruitment Specialists continues to incorporate untraditional methods by not having a head office or basic salary’s. Despite a lack of traditional systems, The Recruitment Specialists has been profitable from day one.

“There are many talented women who are forced to choose between family responsibilities and having a fulfilling career because existing business formats can’t accommodate their needs. And it’s not just mothers; people whose peak performance times happen outside of the nine to five, or those with long commutes,” explains Stephens.

“I was pregnant with my first child when we founded TRS and it was with the intention to create a business that provided us founders and employees with freedom and flexibility.”

Stephens reveals that her team stays in contact by using Skype, WhatsApp, cell phones, and email. She believes this system works for them because all of their roles are clearly defined. If anyone has a problem, they know exactly who to contact.

“As for the flexi-time, we’re fortunate that there’s no problem that can’t wait an hour, and if it really can’t wait we can make a plan to be available. It’s also important not to try juggle work and life because one of the two will come off short,” believes Stephens.

Read more on Nicole Stephens here.

6Nkhensani Nkosi

Nkhensani Nkosi
  • Entrepreneur: Nkhensani Nkosi
  • Company: Stoned Cherrie
  • Family: Husband and four children
  • Contact: www.stonedcherrie.co.za

Nkhensani Nkosi is the designer and founder behind the uniquely South African brand, Stoned Cherrie. Since she launched her business in 2000, Nkosi has showcased her range at New York Fashion Week. Recently, Stoned Cherrie introduced the beautiful talents from New York-based South African designer Darryl Jagga.

Stoned Cherrie continues to grow and has recently expanded into eyewear – a firm favourite of several African and international icons, including South Africa’s pop singer, Lira.

The fashion enterprise has started to collect other ambitious fashion designers, who have a unique voice and interesting point of view.

Nkosi reveals: “When I get home every day I put on my multitude of ears to listen attentively to all the voices of my family competing for No 1 spot, trying to tell me stories about school and who said what, while brokering sibling peace… the list is endless.”

“The secret to being a successful businesswoman is about creating balance in life, taking care of your needs, spiritually, emotionally and physically as well as having a positive outlook.”

Nkosi spends most of her free time sitting with her children. She believes they make her appreciate being alive. “I also love family holidays. We recently went scuba diving and it was one of the best experiences of my life.”

Read more on Nkhensani Nkosi.

5Amy Kleinhans-Curd

Amy Kleinhans-Curd
  • Entrepreneur: Amy Kleinhans-Curd
  • Company: PLP Group
  • Family: Husband and four children
  • Contact: www.plp.co.za

Mother of four, famous Miss South Africa winner Amy Kleinhans-Curd knew she was going to be an entrepreneur at age 11.

Today, she’s better known for her role as co-founder and director of the PLP Group, as well as her involvement in numerous education-based businesses and organisations.

What most people don’t know about Kleinhans-Curd is that she has been in business for more than 23 years, “I still often feel like the smallest, the least experienced and the least knowledgeable. I don’t necessarily think this is a bad thing — it keeps me humble and it keeps me striving to know more.”

Being a mother of four means that juggling work and family can be a difficult balancing act, but Kleinhans-Curd takes it all in her stride.

“I believe that running a successful business and a successful family life does not need to be mutually exclusive. I have a passion to lead by example for my children and show them it’s possible to do both.

Because of this outlook my children have a very good understanding of the demands of the business world and they adapt exceptionally well to the frequent changes in our routine and our lifestyle accommodates for it. We all support and understand each other regardless of the demand on our lives. And I’m happy to say so far so good.”

Read more on Amy Kleinhans-Curd.

4Michelle Okafor

Michelle Okafor
  • Entrepreneur: Michelle Okafor
  • Company: Michelle Okafor African Designs
  • Family: Husband and two children
  • Contact: www.michelleokafor.co.za

Michelle Okafor started her professional career as a travel agent, but on a trip to Nigeria she became inspired by all the beautiful, bright and eye-catching fabrics. Feeling inspired, she returned to South Africa, determined to create exquisite pieces for everyday wear using the fabrics she had seen.

Today, her distinctive and colourful designs can be found in boutiques and in her online store. Okafor’s collection includes everything from dresses to jackets, shoes and accessories. Her vision to combine traditional African culture with urbanity can clearly be seen in every piece.

During the development stages of Okafor’s fashion enterprise “I could only work on my designs after 8pm once my children had gone to bed,” so that she could spend as much time with them as possible.

Read more on Michelle Okafor.

3Basetsana Kumalo

Basetsana Kumalo
  • Entrepreneur: Basetsana Kumalo
  • Company: Tswelopele Group
  • Family: Husband and three children
  • Contact: www.basetsanakumalo.com

Basetsana Kumalo won the Miss South Africa pageant as well as became the First Princess in the Miss World Competition. Kumalo used the networking opportunities involved to launch her professional career.

At 20, she helped negotiate the deal for Top Billing to become an independent production house. She managed to secure a 50% partnership in Top Billings production company, Tswelopele Productions. This was because of her involvement in and initialising of the negotiations. Kumalo reveals the secret to her success is “courage, determination, passion and staying committed to the course.”

Despite her many successes Kumalo tries to balance a successful and fulfilling career with family responsibilities.

Even though her family is high profile, the Kumalo’s keep their lives grounded and prioritise what is important such as quality time with family on the weekends.

Read more on Basetsana Kumalo here.

2Next slideshow

110 Dynamic Black Entrepreneurs


Nicole Crampton
Nicole Crampton is an online writer for Entrepreneur Magazine. She has studied a BA Journalism at Monash South Africa. Nicole has also completed several courses in writing and online marketing.