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Momtrepreneurs Take Charge Of Their Careers

There’s a new kind of entrepreneur on the rise, it’s the new wave of momtrepreneurs.

Entrepreneur

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Female entrepreneurs are increasingly reshaping the global entrepreneurial landscape. According to the Women-owned Businesses1 report by the Centre for Women in Business, which analyses female entrepreneurs in the US, there is currently a growing economic phenomenon of self-employed women entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Related: Time-saving Tips from Santie Botha

Entrepreneurs at home

Gugu Mjadu, executive general manager: Marketing at Business Partners Limited (BUSINESS/PARTNERS), says that the same trend is emerging in South Africa, with the latest GEM South Africa 2014 report revealing that opportunity-motivated Total Early-stage Entrepreneurial Activity (TEA) amongst women has increased from 64% in 2013 to 71% in 2014.

“South African women are increasingly starting small enterprises from the comfort of their own homes. While some of these women may be required to seek self-employment for financial necessity, many are being driven by the desire of flexibility and the independence to spend more time with their children.”

Balancing family with work

She says that this has also given rise to the coined phrase, the ‘momtrepreneur’, which is a term used to refer to stay-at-home mothers who have established their own businesses.

“These women are increasingly finding ways to express their interests and creativity, and while doing so, they earn an income while also having the opportunity to spend time with their children.

“Some of our female clients and service providers who have taken this entrepreneurial route have expressed more satisfaction in their work as they now have the freedom to dictate how they split their day between work and their personal life. One example is Claire Gaton by who started Research House in 2004, today a comprehensive research service facility, in a bid to be more involved in her children’s lives.”

With the rise of eCommerce, consumers are not only beginning to purchase goods online, but are also purchasing services from external providers via online platforms. Mjadu says that this in turn is leading to numerous opportunities for stay-at-home moms, who can now compete with larger companies.

“This shift is driving the trend of the momtrepreneur as it is now simpler and easier to start and run a business from home. As the internet and technology evolves, so will the business possibilities.”

The challenges of a stay-at-home CEO

Being a momtrepreneur isn’t without its challenges though, say Mjadu. “Momtrepreneurs need to be able to balance the stress of managing motherhood while running a business, which can be demanding if not managed correctly.”

She adds that a strong work-life balance is especially important in this case. “Entrepreneurs can very quickly get wrapped up in the day-to-day running of a business, especially if they are the only employee, and responsible for everything from admin to sales and implementation. When the entrepreneur is a mother, and has children and a household to look after, balance is even more of a challenge.

Related: Meet Africa’s Most Influential Women in SME Business and Government

“Momtrepreneurs should draw up a list of goals both for their business and home life, and keep them top of mind to remain focused. A certain amount of time for family, friends and self-indulgence should also be set and stuck to where possible.”

It is also important to remember that it isn’t always possible to pursue your journey alone, says Mjadu. “Running a business is hard work, and can mean working more hours than a regular day job. Lean on family for support and join networking groups in your area. Not only will these events help you network with likeminded women, but can also aid in developing your business and industry knowledge, as well as allow you the opportunity to possibly meet new clients and suppliers,” concludes Mjadu.

Entrepreneur Magazine is South Africa's top read business publication with the highest readership per month according to AMPS. The title has won seven major publishing excellence awards since it's launch in 2006. Entrepreneur Magazine is the "how-to" handbook for growing companies. Find us on Google+ here.

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Support for Women Entrepreneurs

Funding For Women Entrepreneurs – A Collective Effort

The bottom line is that while funders need to stretch further to reach female entrepreneurs, these entrepreneurs need to make their own efforts to connect and ready themselves to tap these resources. Only then will the latent economic value of women in our economy reach its full potential.

Jenny Retief

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It is well recognised that women are powerful drivers of economic growth in South Africa, and are vital to the country reaching its full economic potential. Yet women account for only 18% percent of business owners in South Africa, according to the second Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs (MIWE), released earlier this year.

The reasons are many, including lack of financial literacy, but one of the biggest constraints facing women entrepreneurs is access to finance. As most women entrepreneurs are concentrated in the informal sector, the majority of them access financing through micro-lending institutions, which offer only limited support. When they are ready to grow into SMMEs, they again face difficulties in obtaining loans from commercial banks.

According to the ‘Inaugural South African SMME Access to Finance Report’, published last year by the online access to finance portal Finfind, the SMME sector provides a “compelling, largely untapped market opportunity for innovative funders”, estimating the SMME credit gap at between R86bn and R346bn.

Finfind’s research showed that many SMMEs that are eligible for funding are still unable to secure it due to their lack of finance readiness, i.e., they are unable to produce the financial documentation required by funders to assess bankability and affordability, in order to approve their funding applications. These documents include up-to-date management accounts, latest financial statements, budgets, forecasts and tax clearance certificates, among others.

Related: Funding And Financial Assistance For SA Women Entrepreneurs

This was reiterated at the recent African Youth Networks Summit in Tswhane, where the head of Old Mutual Foundation Millicent Maroga stressed, “the key issue is a distinct lack of support in getting the business ready for funding”.

Enter initiatives like the Riversands Incubation Hub, a campus north of Sandton that houses over 150 established and start-up small businesses in subsidised premises, with access to business support services. One of its key values to its SMMEs is bridging the gap between them and the many players in the funding space, in particular through its annual FundEX event, a platform giving guidance and helping to match entrepreneurs with funders.

“Contrary to popular belief, there is funding available. FundEX provides practical guidance on what funding is available and what it takes to access this capital. It also gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to interact with a variety of funders, including banks, government funders and alternative funding platforms,” says Jenny Retief, CEO of Riversands Incubation Hub.

The theme this year is ‘Secrets of Scale’, unpacking what it takes to build a ‘fundable’ business. This is highly pertinent, as much of the complexity in the SMME funding environment is seated in the size of the business, and what stage of growth it is at.

Finfind’s research found that although SMMEs and start-ups may qualify for venture capital funding, funding opportunities for less scalable SMMEs are less promising. “This opens the door for new, innovative funding models to serve this section of the SMME market. Start-ups and micro-businesses represent a significant potential market for innovative funders who are able to develop new lending models tailored to address this growing market,” said the report.

As women proliferate in this space, they need to equip themselves with as much as information as possible about the funding opportunities out there, says Retief.

“The DTI, for example, offers funding programmes, and aggregators such as FinFind and others can help entrepreneurs navigate the more than 400 different funding solutions available in SA. Entrepreneurs can also boost their business by regular engagement with a mentor. Many incubation programmes offer this type of support,” she says.

Related: Watch List: 50 Black African Women Entrepreneurs To Watch

There are also many initiatives to bring resources closer to entrepreneurs. For example, the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) offers Technology Stations in diversified sectors, ranging from agro-processing, chemicals, clothing and textiles to tooling. These provide entrepreneurs access to university-level technical levels and specialised equipment at affordable pricing levels.

This speaks to upskilling, a key offering of incubation hubs and critical for women entrepreneurs needing to become finance literate. “At Riversands, we have a team of coaches and mentors who guide entrepreneurs in specific areas such as finance or strategy. Relevant educational material is regularly presented in formal as well as informal ways and reinforced with practical coaching to help entrepreneurs put theory into practice in their own businesses.  This is flanked with professional bookkeeping services provided on a subsidised basis. This allows business owners to build the financial records and systems their businesses need to qualify for understanding,” says Retief.

The bottom line is that while funders need to stretch further to reach female entrepreneurs, these entrepreneurs need to make their own efforts to connect and ready themselves to tap these resources. Only then will the latent economic value of women in our economy reach its full potential.

Riversands FundEX takes place on August 16. For more information visit: http://www.fundex.co.za

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Support for Women Entrepreneurs

13 Female Entrepreneurs Rising To The Top In SA

These 13 black businesswomen are rapidly rising stars. You can learn from their journey and their entrepreneurial advice.

Entrepreneur

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Women all over the world are the powerhouses behind some of the newest, innovative start-ups and concept businesses. South African businesswomen are gaining momentum in this global arena too, with success stories like the 13 ladies below.

Female-led business growth is happening in South Africa, despite the latest Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) statistics showing that only 6.2% of South African females take the leap into entrepreneurship.

These 13 black female businesswomen are going against statistical trends and represent some of the rising stars in South Africa’s entrepreneurial landscape. 

  1. Boitumelo Ntsoane
  2. Phuti Mahanyele 
  3. DJ Zinhle 
  4. Polo Leteka Radebe
  5. Michelle Okafor
  6. Sonia Booth
  7. Basetsana Kumalo
  8. Sibongile Sambo
  9. Molemo Kgomo
  10. Nkhensani Nkosi
  11. Bonang Matheba
  12. Matsi Modise
  13. Khanyi Dhlomo
Prev1 of 14

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Support for Women Entrepreneurs

[Infographic] The World’s Most Influential Female Entrepreneurs

Numerous women have enjoyed massive success with the businesses that they started. Some of these are profiled in the infographic below from All Finance Tax.

Colette Cassidy

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Managing your own business is not easy. Unless you’re willing to stop at nothing to make the business succeed and unless you can balance supreme self-confidence with the cool, analytical head to know the risk that’s a risk too far, your entrepreneurial sojourn will almost certainly be brief and disastrous.

If you can set up your own company and keep it operational for at least several years, you will have proven that you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur. Even if you don’t turn over a massive profit from the company, being able to stand on your own two feet with self-made earnings is an achievement.

Then there are those whose businesses more than just survive. They grow into multimillion-dollar international enterprises which could make the owners world famous. One such example is JK Rowling. Granted, she might not fit the stereotype of a business owner, but she turned her passion into her life’s work and earned a fortune because of it. Like many entrepreneurs, she had an idea which took her from being in financial distress to owning a globally-recognised brand, namely the Harry Potter series.

Her story is an inspiration to female entrepreneurs everywhere, as the corporate world is still thought of as a male-dominated environment. That perception is rather misleading, though, as numerous women have enjoyed massive success with the businesses that they started. Some of these are profiled in the infographic below from All Finance Tax.

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Related: 10 Successful SA Women Entrepreneurs’ Top Advice On Balancing Work And Family

 

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