Naledi Phafane

Founder, Spectrum

At only 14 years old, Naledi Phafane is the co-founder of Open Root and Moval, mobile apps that simplify accommodation rental and transport in cities. She also co-founded Spectrum, the company organising the Cognothon series of events.
Her involvement in the application and coding world has already scooped her awards that include winning of the City of Ekurhuleni Hackathon and TADHack Girl Coder of the year. Phafane is geared to give back to the nation through entrepreneurship — and thrives while doing it. “We South Africans have so much potential, but are constantly being held back because we don’t take action or use our resources to make this a better country,” says Phafane.
Her biggest challenge is finding business partners her age who share her mindset. Her father has played a significant role in her success, helping her set up Spectrum, a company that hosts and organises events with Cognothon that aim to inspire the youth to take an interest in entrepreneurship. Naledi also runs innovation and entrepreneurship seminars at universities, with a recent one held at the University of Pretoria.
“My future aspiration is to see other young South Africans doing what I’m doing: taking interest in entrepreneurship and innovation in order to improve the economic status of the country. I’d like to see more young people adopting an entrepreneurial mindset,” she says.
— Welcome Lishivha

Twitter: @NalediPhafane