Founder of Precious & Pearl and Firstwatch Entrepreneurs Challenge winner 2019. Upon winning the challenge, Mpho used her prize money to buy equipment and marketing material to grow her brand Ghemere – a non-alcoholic ginger beer brand. While the challenge helped her brand gain brand visibility that attracted new customers to her brand, the equipment she bought assisted her business in achieving consistency in its manufacturing processes. This consistency has opened opportunities for her to work with Food Lovers stores in Gauteng. Currently, her business supplies Ghemere to 3 Food Lovers stores in Sunward Park, Jabulani and Dobsonville. Following her win, she has worked with Dawn on a book called ‘Hope’ which launched last year and has been profiled on TV interviews and webinars to share her story of hope. Being part of the Firstwatch Entrepreneurs Challenge also allowed Mpho to network with some of the entrepreneurs who’d also taken part in the event. This networking led to the collaborations between her and these entrepreneurs after she’d won. Mpho’s story of hope is one that we’re proud of at Firstwatch because we believe in rewarding those who work hard, especially the dedicated, budding entrepreneurs who want to turn their business ideas into reality.

Simo Nzama – DURBAN

social entrepreneur, programme director and businessman

Simo Nzama is the founder of SeeMorePossibilities Foundation and Babuse Communications. He’s a social entrepreneur, programme director and businessman. Simo lives an energetic life aimed at imparting knowledge through entertainment. He is a Public Administration Management graduate from the Mangosuthu University of Technology. Simo also has corporate work experience gained from iThala Limited that has helped him to navigate through the industry.

He is currently a Social Commentator Trend Analyst on Gagasi FM’s Mid-morning Hangout Slot on the Social Front. As a Program Director, Simo has hosted more than 200 high-profile events including the keynote speaker for eThekwini Municipality departments such as Durban Tourism; Parks, Recreation and Culture; Libraries and Heritage; and The Durban Film Office, to name a few. His passion for the upliftment of the community is evident in his #Seemorepossibilities. He has launched and manages key initiatives such as the Each One Teach One concept which are National Township Leadership seminars aimed at revitalising and shaping community leaders for social cohesion, moral regeneration, development and township rejuvenation, and the Township Goes Digital initiative where he connects township people with the rest of the world (connecting the Third and First Worlds) via online platforms.

Bheki Kunene – Cape Town

businessman with a design and technology industry background

Bheki Kunene is a 30-year-old businessman with a design and technology industry background. After finishing his Diploma in Graphic Design and a national certificate in Web and Software development, he started his career as a junior graphic designer at Digital Bureau in 2008 and later lectured Web design at Concept Interactive in 2009. After his tenure developing world-class course outlines and curriculums, his itching desire to excel in the industry led him to establish one of South Africa’s best award-winning digital agencies – Mind Trix Media.

With a clear vision of changing the world through design, he has assisted over 40 previously disadvantaged individuals in going through Web and Graphic Design functions while later enabling these individuals to access permanent positions. Kunene’s entrepreneurial zeal hasn’t gone unnoticed in his 8 years as the Director at Mind Trix Media. He has been bestowed an Honorary Doctorate Degree of Philosophy in Business Management and Leadership by the Share World University in Malawi in 2016, Acacia Global Leadership Award attained in 2016 and graced the cover of Forbes Africa – listed on Africa’s future billionaires in 2015.

Bheki’s passion for business has led him to travel internationally, sharing his insight on strategy, business development, business expansions, and creative solutions to corporate governance issues via public speaking. His bookings include the Israeli business community where he spoke alongside late President Shimon Perez at the Forbes Under 30 Summit in Tel Aviv, the commencement address at the University of Malawi, a panellist at the Tanzania Business Conference, Old Mutual Tomorrow’s Leaders, a business community London Business School – MBA, and speaking at insight gatherings, to list just a few. He enjoys travelling, peaceful days in the mountains, extreme sports and time out with the family.

Lonwabo Rani – EASTERN CAPE
Social Entrepreneur and Businessman
From the dusty streets of Magxaki, Queenstown, Eastern Cape, who knew that a young man would be known as one of the most successful businessmen in South Africa, particularly in the Eastern Cape? Lonwabo Rani is the founding member and Marketing Director of Silulo Ulutho Technologies, Director of Black Spot Media agency which specialises in the branding and manufacturing of Sportswear.
Lonwabo Rani completed his secondary education at KwaKomani Comprehensive School and later went on to study his Diploma in Electrical Engineering and BTech in Project Management at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.

His background work experience includes working with engineering companies such as Tellumat, the South African Astronomical Observatory, and Exact Mobile Phones where he served as an electrical technician from 2002 to 2004. This was when he became inspired to become an entrepreneur.

In 2006, realising the need for internet and computer services around Khayelitsha, where he stayed, and the struggle people had to go through for such necessities, he decided to start a business from the boot of a car with only two computers, rendering these services to the residents. From selling computers to realising the need for training on how to use them, he then decided to open a store to offer these services.

Lonwabo Rani has made a notable name for himself and believes that giving back to the community is what defines a businessman. He is a recipient of various awards such as the SAB Regional, National & Ultimate Kick Start Awards. In 2010, he was chosen to represent South African youth in the Business In America (Young Entrepreneurship Program) and in 2011, he was selected as an Endeavor Global Entrepreneur. He is a YALI (Young African Leaders Initiative) alumni. He also managed to expand the company Silulo Ulutho Technologies to become an international award winner and grow the brand into one of the most sort-after franchises in SA. He’s also a founding member of the Komani Development Foundation, which is determined to develop the youth in the Eastern Cape.