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If the first few names that spring to mind when you think ‘innovative businesswomen’ are the Oprah Winfreys, Marissa Mayers and Martha Stewarts of the world, you obviously haven’t been keeping an eye on what’s happening closer to home.From big brand boardrooms to the helm of SMEs rapidly skyrocketing to success, there are heaps of female business leaders innovating on a massive scale right on our doorstep. If you’re not already following their lead, here’s why you should be.
Look for inspiration hiding in plain sight
South Africans had been drinking Rooibos unquestioningly and without speculation for close on two centuries before the late Dr. Annique Theron, who passed away just this year, thought to dig a little deeper to find out why we couldn’t get enough of this sweet tea. What she discovered was that the Rooibos plant, which is completely indigenous to the south-western tip of our country, seemed to have powerful healing properties. It would be years before this claim was verified but that didn’t stop women everywhere from picking up a few Rooibos-based Annique Health and Beauty products, turning this humble tea leaf and Annique’s business into an overnight international sensation.
Make the ordinary extraordinary
Teacher turned iconic South African designer Carrol Boyes is another entrepreneur who has found a way to leverage something unique to South Africa as a major selling point…but with a twist. Her self-titled brand produces upmarket home and lifestyle items that echo many elements of traditional African art yet embrace the clean lines and sculptural focus of modern art, creating a signature trademark style. The beauty of her products is that they appeal to both international buyers who are attracted to exotic African elements and to a local market that finds the modern take on this style refreshing.
Don’t always give people what they want
Africology CEO Renchia Droganis is virtually dominating the health conscious beauty industry. Why? Well it probably has something to do with her approach to the brand’s consumers which is very much like the approach a parent takes to raising their children; instead of spoiling them by giving them what they want, she’s schooling them on what it is they actually need. So in a time when a buzzword like ‘organic’ on product taglines is almost guaranteed to send stock flying off the shelves, Renchia has steered clear. Instead she has voiced her concern that organic ingredients drive up the price of products with little trade-off considering that they are still permitted to contain a small percentage of chemicals. This ethical approach is what has catapulted Renchia’s business from its small beginnings in her very own kitchen to an internationally sought after and trusted brand – a status every business leader strives for.
These are just some of the women who have taught us here at ActionCOACH a thing or two about building an innovative business and yet there are still hundreds or thousands more – from Sally Williams, Barbara Mallison and Lucilla Booyzen, who will continue to inspire us and our business coaching philosophies.
Franchise Enquiries – Pieter Scholtz / Harry Welby-Cooke – pieterscholtz@actioncoach.com/ harrywelbycooke@actioncoach.com
Harry Welby-Cooke is the Co-Master Licensee in Southern Africa for ActionCOACH, the fastest growing and largest business coaching company globally. Harry and his partner, Pieter, developed ActionCOACH across Southern Africa, which now boasts over 30 franchisees. He is also a certified, leading business and executive coach. He has successfully assisted countless business owners and executives to significantly grow their profits and develop their entrepreneurial skills. www.actioncoach.co.za / 012 665 1015.