Entrepreneur.  Leadership

Based: Johannesburg

Zipho Sikhakhane is an international speaker and business strategist. She has held management positions in industry leading corporations worldwide and is the first black South African to complete an MBA at the top-ranked Stanford University in the USA. In 2016, she received the Outstanding Young Achiever Award from the UNESCO Center for Global Education. In the last 15 years, she has presented in four continents including a TEDx Talk in the USA on Africa’s potential. She delivers inspiring keynotes, workshops and poetry on Africa’s potential, leadership, entrepreneurship, youth and women in business. She has been featured in numerous publications worldwide and is published as a contributing author in Singapore in a book on inspirational women. She is also a weekly Business Columnist for the Sunday Times in South Africa.  

From being raised by a single parent in a poor township in northern KwaZulu Natal to overcoming the challenges faced by individuals from disadvantaged communities, Zipho’s journey has been one of consistently breaking barriers. She uses her inspiring life story to help individuals and businesses unleash their true potential.

Professional Background:

  • International Project Director, Inditex Zara (Spain)
  • Management Consultant, McKinsey & Company
  • Customer Strategy Manager, Edcon Retail Group
  • Worked in 6 continents and visited 30 countries

Current Entrepreneurial Activities:

  • Angel Investor for Pan-African start-ups
  • Chairperson of Maneli Commodities
  • Business Advisor to managers and entrepreneurs

Academic Credentials:

  • Masters in Business Administration, Stanford Graduate School of Business, USA – graduated on full scholarship
  • Bachelor of Business Science Honours, University of Cape Town, SA – graduated on full scholarship with first class honours and distinctions
  • Matriculated among the top in the province, with six distinctions
  • Completed leadership courses in Austria, China, Czech Republic, Russia, South Africa

Areas of Expertise (for workshops): Business strategy, change management, customer centricity, communications

Keynote Topics

1. Leadership Begins with YOU

Individuals need to learn how to lead themselves first, before they can effectively lead others. Emerging from humble beginnings, Zipho beat the odds to achieve outstanding academic success and hold leadership positions in leading corporations locally and globally. She shares insights on the leadership techniques that enabled her to become an exceptional leader.

2. Leading Africa to Prosperity

The African continent presents immeasurable growth opportunities for local and multi-national corporations. The leaders that will succeed in making the most of these opportunities are ones that understand the importance of having a long term vision and adapting their leadership approaches to the demands of the local context. Zipho has presented inspiring talks across four continents on the progress and potential of African economies – including a TEDx talk delivered in the United States.

3. Entrepreneurship–Building the Giants of Tomorrow

Zipho is passionate about helping entrepreneurs build businesses that will last and achieve scalable growth. Having been an entrepreneur throughout her youth, since as early as the age of five years old, she shares her perspectives on some of the pitfalls that prevent small business owners from taking their businesses to the next level. She also shares the latest trends and insights on entrepreneurship in the local context – based on research done for the weekly business columns written in the Sunday Times on this topic.

4. Inspirational Poetry

Zipho has been writing and presenting poetry for many years. She can deliver engaging poetry recitals on a variety of topics.