With a degree in architecture from the University of the Witwatersrand and a master’s in market research from the University of Pretoria, Frances MacMahon is the founder and chief executive of Meraki Research, a market research and consulting agency. She started the company five years ago amid much career uncertainty. She counts the leap of faith and determination it required as one of her proudest moments, and advises young people to follow their passions, as she did, to ensure they fulfil their potential and grow into the professionals they want to become. Through her company’s corporate social responsibility and partnerships with non-governmental organisations, MacMahon hopes to empower the youth through education and do her part to reduce the staggering youth unemployment rate in South Africa. Through this work, she hopes the youth can build successful and sustainable careers.
To maintain the authenticity of traditional ginger beer, chemical engineer Mpho Mohaswa founded Precious and Pearl Brands – a business that manufactures gemere (a non-alcoholic ginger beer concentrate) under the brand name Ghemere. Mohaswa’s business is rooted in tradition, family and ubuntu. She grew up watching her mother and grandmother working hard to perfect the taste of ginger beer, and uses this as inspiration to make Ghemere a household brand that can be enjoyed at any time. She strongly believes in giving back to the community and gives working-class people an opportunity to make extra income by selling her products. She adds: “A lot of people have had to take pay cuts because of Covid-19 and the money earned from selling our products has assisted them significantly. I am proud of the business we are building, the hope we have reignited and the jobs we continue to create.”
If you don’t stand up and go and make a difference and change the world, who is going to do it?