The Embassy of France in South Africa, Lesotho and Malawi and the French Institute of South Africa (IFAS) revealed the top 12 entrepreneur finalists entering Création Africa’s final incubation and immersion stage.

Création Africa falls within a continent-wide initiative launched in 2023 by the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs focused on the cultural and creative industries in 16 African countries, as part of its renewed engagement to invest in entrepreneurship and creative industries on the continent.

The R24-million Création Africa programme has been designed to reinforce cultural cooperation between France and Lesotho, Malawi and South Africa by supporting cultural and creative talents from these countries on their entrepreneurial journeys. Now, from a previous shortlist of 40 businesses selected to undergo month-long training and pitch their ideas, a dozen promising businesses have been selected to enter the incubation and immersion phase.

The 12 initiatives – one from Lesotho, two from Malawi and nine from South Africa – are led by entrepreneurs, one-third of whom are women, making waves in the areas of fashion, design, audio-visual, video games and music.

The 12 finalists are:

* Ananta Design Studio – Viveka and Rucita Vassen, design – Cape Town, South Africa

* GIYA – Giyani Mashimbye and Cassandra Twala, design – Johannesburg, South Africa

* Kwacha Creative Studios – Chimwemwe Mkwezalamba and Rafik Seleman, audio-visual – Blantyre, Malawi

* LSJ Clothing and Merchandising – Julian Kubel, fashion – Johannesburg, South Africa

* Moodswing – Jimmy Muteba, music and media – Johannesburg, South Africa

* Pineapple on Pizza Studios – Kushal Jeethendra Sithlu, gaming – Johannesburg, South Africa

* Renaissance Design – Glorinah Khutso Mabaso, design – Pretoria, South Africa

* SourceCode Motion Pictures – Katleho Monyako, audiovisual – Maseru, Lesotho

* SpaceSalad Studios – Thabo Tsolo, gaming – Johannesburg, South Africa

* Tendalo Trading – Xolile Mabuza, fashion – Mbombela, South Africa

* Terry Made Designs – Terrence Thobani Ngulube, fashion – Blantyre, Malawi

* THEBE MAGUGU – Thebe Magugu, fashion – Johannesburg, South Africa

During this phase, the finalists will embark on a five-month incubation journey designed to empower them and take their creative ventures to the next level. This includes not only strategic guidance and tailored training but also invaluable exposure and networking opportunities with French and international cultural and creative industry experts and investors, as well as financial grants ranging from €30 000 to €50 000.

As part of the incubation programme, each business will be supported by three dedicated mentors through weekly one-on-one tailored mentorship sessions and will attend weekly group sessions with the cohort. They will complete entrepreneurship-on-demand training online to develop their human skills and master business fundamentals. The 12 finalists will also get an opportunity to learn from French and international industry leaders as part of a series of bespoke masterclasses to build their vision and support their growth.