Access to new markets and funding are the biggest barriers to developing or taking female-owned businesses to the next level, according to a South African Entrepreneurship survey by Standard Bank.
Jobs and growth in Africa will be dependent on innovation and entrepreneurship, but the survey of 130 South African female entrepreneurs found that most women are still pressured to pursue a traditional career. Yet, if they do, they are then pressured to be the “perfect business woman and homemaker”.
According to the survey, which was conducted in October to coincide with the inaugural Lionesses of Africa Annual Conference in Johannesburg, female entrepreneurs are seeking more resources (31%), support (24%) and networking (22%). Interestingly, infrastructure, training and technology were not seen as barriers by this group of women entrepreneurs, but this may be attributed to the sizes of their businesses.
Almost all of the respondents had relatively small to medium-sized businesses with less than 20 employees (95%), and of those surveyed 44% had children (40% married with children, while 38% were single with no children and 6% single with children).
The survey found that having support in the form of family and mentors is high on the list for these entrepreneurs.
Jayshree Naidoo, Head of Incubator at Standard Bank, says a work/life balance is widely viewed as the most common tension point that female entrepreneurs experience in their working lives:
“Most women who work and have families, or who want a fulfilling social and work life, struggle to create a balance,” she explains.
“It’s a tough act, but one that is certainly possible with careful planning, support from loved ones – most importantly – we need to empower women to stop feeling guilty about perfecting their roles, as mother, wife, daughter, businesswomen etc.”
On the back of the prompted mention of work/life balance, the Standard Bank survey also finds that financial instability is one of the biggest tension points facing female entrepreneurs, along with being time-strapped and not being taken seriously.
Moving to the motivations for entering entrepreneurship, the majority of respondents revealed the main motivation for having a successful business is mainly to make a social contribution to the community (42%), as well as securing a future for themselves and their family (27%).
“South African female entrepreneurs see investing for a social return and creating social change just as important as investing for a profitable return,” says Ms Naidoo. “They feel that by doing this, longer-term and more patient investments can be made.”
This comes as economies globally grapple with the consequences of short-termism as opposed to the long-term sustainability of businesses.
“Women entrepreneurs are viewed as marathon runners; they take the time to harness and nurture businesses for years – an approach that is favourable for the development of the African economy. On the other hand, male entrepreneurs are more like sprinters. They build a business to reach its fullest potential and then sell it off for the next opportunity.”
The Standard Bank survey found that being a female entrepreneur takes courage, with those who have fear choosing to overcome it. In the survey, 82% of the respondents agreed that they are “fearless” when it comes to being female entrepreneurs in Africa – and they are fearless because the fear of not succeeding is greater than that of not acting.
The 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) survey shows that more than half of the working-age population in the 60 economies surveyed, on average, feel they have the ability to start a business. In a broad sense, however, women are less likely than men to engage in entrepreneurship, but when they do, they are more likely to do so out of necessity. The GEM survey found that in many areas with low GDP per capita, women must find ways to earn extra money to supplement household income and pay for such necessities as schooling, clothes and food to feed the family. Additionally, in many African countries in particular, a family may support another family that has fallen on hard times.
On the contrary, from a South African perspective, most of the surveyed entrepreneurs, who predominantly service the formal entrepreneurship market, citied that their main motivation for becoming an entrepreneur is to follow their passion/heart (54%), while the best thing about being a female entrepreneur is the ability to create their own future (46%).
“A concern remains that while many women have great ideas, they don’t have all the necessary tools or funding to hire people who have the tools,” Ms Naidoo continues. “Breaking down barriers to infrastructure and access to markets is needed, and this is why Standard Bank stands committed to playing an important role in assisting female entrepreneurs to thrive in Africa, a continent we call home, and drive her growth.”
The specific challenges highlighted in the survey need to be addressed as we build the businesses of the future that will take Africa and female entrepreneurs forward.
“Because we are committed to driving progress on the continent, Standard Bank is dedicated to supporting the development of African female entrepreneurs by being a partner for growth, and celebrates those who are making a difference,” Ms Naidoo concludes.
SMMEs So Much Focus On Funding, But What About Skills
A study by StatsSA which surveyed households and obtained evidence relating to skills development and unemployment between 1994 and 2014 showed the following.
I think we can all agree that the funding of small businesses is only part of the solution. What is possibly more important (as an enabler) is the initial assessment of the level and adequacy of skills existing within new or developing enterprises and to evaluate what further skills development or training is required to ensure a firm business foundation and sustainable growth is achieved.
A study by StatsSA which surveyed households and obtained evidence relating to skills development and unemployment between 1994 and 2014 showed the following:
- During this time frame across the South African working population of households there was an increase in skilled labour (21% to 25%), with a shift away from semi and low-skilled labour.
- What is interesting to note in the growth of skilled labour is the disparity within the different race groups.
*For the purpose of this analysis, the occupation types were used to infer skills levels based on the Quarterly Labour Force Survey. Skilled: manager, professional, technical. Semi-skilled: sales and services, clerk, machine operator. Low-skilled: domestic worker.
This is clear evidence that the role of enterprise and supplier development is a crucial one needed to up-skill and train the broader population. It is one thing to provide finance and access to markets, but without the appropriate skills development to make these investments sustainable is would be a fruitless exercise.
The role that the private sector plays in post investment business support and capacity building is incredibly important. There is a requirement to build both technical skills as well as overall business management skills. This in my view is when we will start seeing real impact. In order for the enterprises to be effective in the contracts that they are awarded a focus on skills development (by both parties) is required.
In an economy where growth has crawled to a near halt, SMMEs cannot be expected to be the holy-grail for job creation. Making an impact in increasing the potential salary earning or employable workforce is key and therefore skills development requires a multi-faceted approach:
- From early education phase – where emphasis must be placed at school level for entrepreneurship training and opportunities is a key enabler. Entrepreneurship should in essence become a career option to consider. Innovation must be incubated. The world is changing and the skills required to be productive are changing as well.
- Clear regulations and commitment to quality interventions should be stipulated at policy level to incentivise skills development/ skills transfer from large corporates to small businesses.
- Without looking at the bigger picture these developmental areas are without support – so a holistic approach to skills development – mentorship, networking and overall business acumen are skills that often distinguish between those who do well and those who don’t in business. It needs to all work harmoniously and as an effective and efficient ecosystem reliant on each other’s strengths and support and mutually beneficial objectives.
At the end of the day, an enterprise should leave an ESD programme empowered to stand and survive in the business world. We know that we are losing the challenge when time and time again we see developing enterprises moving from one ESD programme to another with nothing to show for it. Monitoring and evaluation of these enterprises is therefore also essential to track growth and success – but also to identify areas of weakness or need for further intervention.
At the heart of ESD is the notion that larges businesses/ corporates should move beyond compliance (aka box-ticking) and toward the heart of transformation. Intertwined here is the responsibility to use development interventions and activities in a deliberate and focused manner so that the skills level in small businesses can move upwards and ensure the longevity and success of growing enterprises.
Become The Number One Pitch Hustler With The ENGEN Pitch & Polish Programme
The ENGEN Pitch & Polish programme, hosted by Engen Petroleum Ltd and Nedbank, powered by Raizcorp and supported by national media partner, Caxton Local Media, is based on teaching entrepreneurs to present a winning pitch that is clear and focused.
The word “hustle” comes from a Dutch word that means “to shake things up”. Traditionally, the English word “hustler” was used to describe a dishonest person, who would do anything to make money. Hustling is, however, no longer a dirty word; nowadays, a hustler is someone who makes things happen. Hustling is about movement, activity and shaking things up in a positive way – the very things that entrepreneurs need to succeed!
Successful hustlers exist everywhere, and all entrepreneurs have much to learn from those who have mastered the art of the hustle! Whether they are building a business, selling a product or offering a service, hustlers focus on their goal and do whatever it takes to achieve the goal. Hustlers put in the hours and don’t waste time doing things that don’t contribute to their success in some way.
Hustlers grab every opportunity to pitch their business to potential funders and clients. They are seasoned pitch artists, and having secured the opportunity to pitch, know exactly what they want to say. Hustlers present a polished pitch! For this reason, the ENGEN Pitch & Polish programme, hosted by Engen Petroleum Ltd and Nedbank, powered by Raizcorp and supported by national media partner, Caxton Local Media, is based on teaching entrepreneurs to present a winning pitch that is clear and focused.
Related: What Type Of Pitcher Are You?
“With us you are number one”, the headline sponsor Engen’s slogan, could just as easily apply to the hustler’s attitude towards his clients and business. Hustlers put their clients first. Their elevator pitch is ready to go and hustlers, always thinking on their feet, can adapt their pitch to meet the needs of different audiences.
Nedbank, a co-sponsor of ENGEN Pitch & Polish, encourages people to “make your money hustle for you”. Hustlers know how to do this. They think carefully about their pricing model, know how to calculate profit, and make their money work for them!
Hustlers do not give up when they hear “no”. They see rejection as an opportunity to be overcome, not a roadblock. At ENGEN Pitch & Polish, entrepreneurs are subjected to many “no’s” as they learn to perfect their pitches. Those who learn to use this feedback to their advantage – are the hustlers!
The pitch that was delivered from the heart, with the greatest ease, confidence, and precision – as well as energy and enthusiasm – were the qualities that caught the eye of the judges, and resulted in Bruce Diale, from Polokwane, winning the 2017 ENGEN Pitch and Polish programme, at an exclusive and prestigious event, held in Johannesburg, on 30th November. Bruce’s Agri-consulting business has developed, and patented, Gardenizly, an innovative vegetable gardening product, which is both water and space efficient.
This was not the only reason for his victory. “We chose Bruce as this year’s winner,” says Joe Mahlo, GM for Sales and Marketing, from Engen Petroleum Ltd, who was one of this year’s judges, “because he was clear on the value that his product and business will add to his clients and, indeed, to the world.” This is yet another indispensable quality of the hustler. Watch this space. A hustler has been born!
Second place was awarded to Refilwe Matsaneng, from Welkom, for her hair products business, GloLooks. Third place went to Renschia Manuel, from Cape Town, for her portable urban veggie growing boxes, GrowBox, business.
“It’s intimidating and unnerving to ask for money,” says Grace Govender, Head of New Business and Support for Relationship Banking, Nedbank. “To overcome this, entrepreneurs must focus on being properly prepared and authentic.”
To further help the entrepreneurs, Caxton Local Media, with over 140 publications, whose roots, too, are deeply embedded in the country, awarded the winner with R20,000 in advertising. “Caxton is firmly established in, and supportive of, local communities in South Africa and the partnership with ENGEN Pitch & Polish, along with Engen, Nedbank and Raizcorp, is a natural fit. We all believe in building small business, from grassroots up,” explains Dejane Poil, Head of Innovation at Caxton.
There was magic on the night as esteemed guests offered these three entrepreneurs further opportunities for growth and expansion.
ENGEN Pitch & Polish’s power lies in its ability to identify, through their pitch, the entrepreneurs that are number one hustlers. “These are the entrepreneurs who demonstrate the ambition to excel and the motivation to put in the work,” says Allon Raiz, the originator of the Pitch & Polish concept, now in its eighth year of identifying entrepreneurs who truly understand what it means to up the hustle!
For more information, visit www.pitchandpolish.com.
R33 Million Available In SME Grant Funding
The Craft + Design Institute (CDI) has launched three funds to support the growth, job creation and innovation of SME’s.
The Craft + Design Institute (CDI) has raised R33 million to establish three funds to support SME growth – a Growth Fund, a Design Innovation Seed Fund and a Loan Book. These three funds will be managed by the investment arm, CDI Capital.
“In most countries, SMEs play a vital role as drivers of economic growth, innovation and job creation, but in South Africa this value is yet to be properly realised. To achieve this, the challenges experienced by SMEs need to be addressed, namely access to markets, finance and credit, infrastructure, resources for R&D, and access to adequately skilled and work ready labour,” explains Erica Elk, Executive Director of the CDI.
The funding’s aim is to create 60 growth-orientated SME’s and 20 innovation technological solutions, which in turn will create 600 permanent jobs over the course of three years.
“We have put a significant amount of work into developing these offerings, not only ensuring good governance and appropriate monitoring and evaluation measures, but realising real and sustainable impact with the businesses we support. We are excited to have raised R33 million to launch this new funding for SMEs, and we thank our funders and supporters – we look forward to making meaningful investments,” says Elk.
The Growth Fund
The Growth Fund is targeted at business with a turnover of assets of more than R1 million, with the ability to create permanent jobs. Applications for this fund open on the 27th November and close on the 31st of December 2017.
The Growth Fund invites SME’s that are experiencing growth or equipped for expansion and able to create sustainable quality jobs to apply for grant funding.
Criteria for the Growth Fund
- Controlling interest in the business (51%) must be a South African citizen with valid South African Identity Document or legal entities controlled by South African citizens with valid South African Identity Documents or permanent residents who hold a valid RSA ID document.
- All business operations must be conducted within the borders of South Africa.
- Must be an existing business, preference will be given to businesses that have been trading for two years or more. The business should operate in the craft, design and light manufacturing sectors, but other industries will also be considered.
- The business will need a turnover or assets of more than R1 million and a willingness to create permanent employment. It must demonstrate year-on-year growth and/or the potential for sufficient growth, while being tax compliant.
- The applicants business will need to create one permanent employee job per grant investment of R21 000 and prepared to contribute an additional 20% of the grant amount in cash to be used in the business.
For more information and further criteria visit here.
The Design Innovation Seed Fund
The Design Innovation Seed Fund is open to investors who have protectable innovative technological solutions that can impact specific sectors and create permanent employment. Applications for this fund open on the 27th of November and close on the 31st of December 2017.
This fund is available to individuals and SME’s with pre-revenue innovative technology and tech-enabled ideas and products within specific sectors to apply.
Criteria for the Design Innovation Seed Fund
- Western Cape based early-stage SME’s/entrepreneurs/researchers.
- Students at Western Cape tertiary institutions where the institution doesn’t have an Intellectual Property claim to the product/service. Please consult institution’s Intellectual Property policy.
- Pre-revenue businesses in incubation or entering incubation or existing SMEs with new products/innovation that is still pre-revenue.
Sector focus 2018/2019:
- Water Conservation
- Alternative Building Materials
- Wild Card* (*projects outside these sectors can be considered).
How to Apply for Funding
Click here for more on the criteria and further information visit here.
In addition to the grant funds, CDI Capital is also launching a R3.5 million working capital and term loan facility as reduced rates for the entire three year project. This will provide access to cash flow during the growth stages of SME’s that qualify for these funds and others.
For more information visit CDI Capital.
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