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Stitch Wise: Natalie Killassy

Stitchwise first came to prominence in the local mining industry by perfecting a geotextile material used in what is known as backfill bags.

Juliet Pitman

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Natalie Killassy

The mining industry has been one of the hardest hit by the recession. Mines across the country have seen massive retrenchments, capital expenditure budget cuts and the implementation of across-the-board cost-cutting measures.

All of this has had a knock-on effect on businesses that supply the industry. In short, it’s not the best market to be in at the moment. Unless you are Natalie Killassy, that is. In the past year the CEO of Stitch Wise has received international recognition for her contribution to economic development in Africa and has perfected a new product that will save mines money, and improve their safety performance.

The company first came to prominence in the local mining industry by perfecting a geotextile material used in what is known as back fill bags. Killassy explains how they work: “When rock is extracted from underground it comes to the surface and is processed to extract the gold. The waste left over is pumped into back fill bags which release water but retain particles. The filling solidifies and becomes an active support mechanism, reducing the magnitude of earth vibrations and rockfalls and improving ventilation in the tunnels.”

The bags have been in use since the 1980s but Stitch Wise perfected the material out of which they are made. “Previously,a lot of the waste leaked out but our material allows only the ultra-fine waste and the water to escape. This makes for a stronger, safer product,” she explains.

It’s a product that put the company on the international mining map, and the past year saw it being further perfected. Killassy’s latest innovation means back fill bags can be filled with layers of earth and steel meshing known as reinforced earth, rather than mining material waste.

It’s safer, can withstand greater pressure underground and enables mines to continue to recover gold ore left over in waste material. “It will also save mines money on electricity costs because the new system is less dependent on cars for waste material transport.

The development was driven by our desire to come up with more cost-effective products for an industry that is under the financial whip,”Killassy adds. This year Killassy also bagged the international Veuve Clicquot Business Women of the Year award for Economic Development, a recognition for innovation, sustainability and social impact.Uplifting disabled people and providing them with opportunities is important to the company and some 50% of its workforce is disabled.

Juliet Pitman is a features writer at Entrepreneur Magazine.

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27 Of The Richest People In South Africa

Here are 27 of South Africa’s richest people, but how did they achieve this level of wealth? Find out here.

Nicole Crampton

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Learn the secrets of SA’s most successful business people, here is the list of the 27 richest people in South Africa:

In a world with growing entrepreneurship success stories, victory is often measured in terms of money. The feat of achieving a place on this list is, however, years of hard work, determination and persistence. “One has to set high standards… I can never be happy with mediocre performance,” advises Patrice Motsepe.

From the individuals that made the 27 of the richest people in South Africa list, actual entrepreneurs and self-made business people dominate the list; while those who inherited their fortunes have gone on to do even bigger and better things with their wealth. Over the years, some have slipped off the list, while others continue to climb higher and higher each year.

  1. Elisabeth Bradley
  2. Sharon Wapnick
  3. Bridgette Radebe
  4. Irene Charnley
  5. Wendy Ackerman
  6. Paul Harris
  7. Wendy Appelbaum
  8. Mark Shuttleworth
  9. Desmond Sacco
  10. Giovanni Ravazzotti
  11. Markus Jooste
  12. Gus Attridge
  13. Gerrit Thomas Ferreira
  14. Cyril Ramaphosa
  15. Adrian Gore
  16. Raymond Ackerman
  17. Michiel Le Roux
  18. Lauritz Dippenaar
  19. Jannie Mouton
  20. Stephen Saad
  21. Patrice Motsepe
  22. Allan Gray
  23. Koos Bekker
  24. Ivan Glasenberg
  25. Christoffel Wiese
  26. Johann Rupert
  27. Nicky Oppenheimer
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Watch List: 50 Top SA Black Entrepreneurs To Watch

South Africa needs more entrepreneurs to build businesses that can make a positive impact on the economy. These up-and-coming black entrepreneurs are showing how it can be done.

Nicole Crampton

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Early-stage South African entrepreneurial activity is at an all-time high of 11%, according to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, and entrepreneurial intentions have also increased to 11.7%. With both activity and intentions growing significantly year-on-year, there are more businesses opening up around South Africa than ever before.

The increase in entrepreneurship has seen the rise of more black entrepreneurs across numerous sectors. From beauty brands to legal services and even tech start-ups, these are 50 top black entrepreneurs to watch:

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Watch List: 50 Top SA Small Businesses To Watch

Keep your finger on the pulse of the start-up space by using our comprehensive list of SA small business to watch.

Nicole Crampton

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Entrepreneurship in South Africa is at an all-time high. According to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), total early-stage entrepreneurial activity has increased by 4.1% to 11% in 2017/2018. This means numerous new, exciting and promising small businesses are launching and growing.

To ensure you know who the innovative trailblazers are in the start-up and small business space, here are 50 of South Africa’s top establishing companies to watch, in no particular order:

  1. Livestock Wealth
  2. The Lazy Makoti
  3. Aerobuddies
  4. Mimi Women
  5. i-Pay
  6. AfriTorch Digital
  7. Akili Labs
  8. Native Décor
  9. Aerobotics
  10. Quality Solutions
  11. EM Guidance
  12. Kahvé Road
  13. HSE Matters
  14. VA Virtual Assistant
  15. Famram Solutions and Famram Foundation
  16. BioTech Africa
  17. Brand LAIKI
  18. Plus Fab
  19. LifeQ
  20. Organico
  21. 10dot
  22. Lenoma Legal
  23. Nkukhu-Box
  24. Benji + Moon
  25. Beonics
  26. Brett Naicker Wines
  27. Khalala
  28. Legal Legends
  29. The Power Woman Project
  30. Aviro Health
  31. AnaStellar Brands
  32. Data Innovator
  33. Fo-Sho
  34. Oolala Collection Club
  35. Recomed
  36. VoiceMap
  37. ClockWork
  38. Empty Trips
  39. Vula Mobile
  40. SwiitchBeauty
  41. Pineapple
  42. The Katy Valentine Collection
  43. OfferZen
  44. KHULA
  45. Incitech
  46. Pimp my Book
  47. ART Technologies and ART Call Management
  48. Prosperiprop
  49. WAXIT
  50. The Sun Exchange
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