Ahead of the #BuyaBusiness Expo and Small Business Expo, successful women entrepreneurs participating in the events were asked to reflect on what challenges women face in business today.
The key issues, they said, were achieving home-work balance and overcoming perceptions that they might be emotional or too apologetic in their business dealings. Successful women in business know what they want to achieve and set out to get it, they say.
For Melissa van Hoogstraten, owner of the well-known Melissa’s stores and food and lifestyle products, success means a balance between a happy marriage, raising three ‘divine’ children, and a growing business.
Mark & Melissa van Hoogstraten opened their first Melissa’s store in August 1996 in Kloof Street, Cape Town.
“The first shop was really just something to keep me busy,” she says. “I was only 23, newlywed and I wanted to do something that encompassed my passions.”
Related: Shark Tank Is Coming To South Africa
Melissa believes that starting a business at an early age, without having worked in a formal corporate job, worked in her favour:
“We had very little to lose at the time, so we could afford to take risks.”
Mark and Melissa worked side by side to grow the business; each bringing their own unique skills to the partnership. With three children now aged 14, 15 and 16, balancing family with the demands of running a fast-growing business can be a challenge, but it’s one the Van Hoogstratens share equally. “We believe family has to take priority, because you have only one opportunity to raise your children well,” Melissa says.
Running your own business is tough, whoever you are, Melissa notes. “Everyone in business makes mistakes and has to learn from them. It’s always new, unknown territory. I haven’t found any challenges unique to my being a woman in business. It’s about how you put yourself forward – if you are good at what you do, and therefore you are confident, people will respect you.”
Brenda Botha, owner of cosmetic businesses Make-Up Designory (MUD) SA and Cosmetic Corp, launched her businesses after gaining years of experience in the South African cosmetics industry. “The work experience I gained in the industry helped me a great deal,” she says.
“I saw where businesses typically made mistakes, and resolved not to repeat them in my own business.”
Although she works in an industry traditionally dominated by women, Botha says she has encountered challenges specific to her being a woman in business. “Often it is in the small things, like dealing with shop fitters. People just don’t take you seriously.
“I have had to become a lot tougher, more forceful, and less apologetic in business. It’s about not asking for permission, being unemotional, saying exactly what you want, and being prepared when you go in to a meeting,” she says.
Genevieve Allen, MD of Sherpa Kids South Africa, a franchised Out of School Hours Care (OSHC) business, is one of only a handful of female franchisors in South Africa. Genevieve considers herself to be part of a “game-changing” generation of women who are empowered to make credible choices about marriage/partnerships, children and careers – and a combination of these elements. She believes the key to accessing choice is education, and that perseverance unlocks opportunities.
“My passion for the fields of education and human development are based on my own life experience. No one can ever take your education away from you and your honed skills with people will always build more connections with new people and empower you even further as a as a woman,” she says.
For entrepreneurial women, interested in starting or growing a business can meet and engage with like-minded entrepreneurs at #BuyaBusiness Expo and the Small Business Expo and Small Business Expo. These expos offer one-stop franchise and business opportunities, business tools, information and networking for anyone considering starting their own business, and for those already in business and looking to expand.
The expos will be staged at the Ticketpro Dome in Northriding Johannesburg from the 8th -10th September 2016. For information, visit http://www.thebereed.co.za/smallbizexpo/ or www.buyabusinessexpo.co.za. The Small Business Expo is proudly supported by Eskom.
Africa’s Top 10 Tech Start-Ups Selected For #Africa4Future Accelerator Programme
Airbus and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) have announced the top 10 African tech start-ups that will take part in the latest Airbus Bizlab #Africa4Future accelerator programme. They were selected after an open public pitch event in front of experts, potential investors, the media and other stakeholders in Kenya’s capital city.
#Africa4Future is a joint business accelerator initiative of Airbus and GIZ’s Make-IT in Africa initiative together with the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST), a non-profit seed fund and pan-African organisation that brings together startups, entrepreneurs and the tech community, and Innocircle, the South African-based innovation consultancy.
The top 10 start-ups were selected from 314 entries representing 19 African countries that were received when the challenge was opened last October. These were assessed by a panel of Airbus and other independent experts.
The programme aims to encourage and support entrepreneurship in Africa. The continent’s young and increasingly techno-savvy population is likely to be the driving force behind Africa’s socio-economic development. The competition identifies Africa’s own pool of talented entrepreneurs using innovative aerospace based solutions to tackle the continent’s most pressing challenges such as transportation, agriculture and healthcare.
As a global aerospace accelerator, Airbus BizLab is ideally suited to help African startups transform innovative ideas into viable and valuable businesses. In doing so, it increases the aerospace industry’s engagement with hardware and software innovators and entrepreneurs in Africa while helping to nurture the establishment of competitive entrepreneurial ecosystems on the continent.
The Nairobi event kicks off an intensive 6-month business incubation and accelerator programme involving technical, commercial and mentorship activities in France, Germany and South Africa. This includes workshops and coaching sessions with Airbus experts, GIZ’s Make-IT in Africa, MEST and Innocircle coaches.
The programme will culminate with Demo Day events at the biennial Paris International Airshow and a special event in Germany from 19-26 June, when finalists will launch their products, define their collaboration with Airbus and announce their investment commitments in front of representatives from across the aerospace industry.
1. Astral Aerial (Kenya) – using drones for humanitarian cargo transport, surveillance and emergency response.
2. Cote d’Ivoire drone (Ivory Coast) – locally-manufactured drones for various applications.
3. Elemental Numerics (South Africa) – applies computational fluid dynamics techniques to the design of machines and components, ranging from aircraft to heart valves.
4. Lentera Limited (Kenya) – applying remote sensors to monitor and transmit environmental data to enable more efficient and smarter farming.
5. Maisha ICT Tech PLC (Ethiopia) – deploying locally built drones for delivering medicines, blood and healthcare items to remote and rural areas.
6. MamaBird (Malawi) – provides a platform to help Governments, NGOs and other organisations deliver vital life-saving supplies to remote communities.
7. Map Action (Mali) – a solution offering real-time online urban mapping to identify problems affecting water supplies, hygiene and sanitation.
8. MobiTech Water Solutions (Kenya) – an online real-time water monitoring solution that allows businesses, homes and water-service providers to manage their available water using an app-based dashboard and instant messaging.
9. Track Your Build (Nigeria) – a novel infrastructure management tool for construction and operations.
10.WiPo Wireless Power (South Africa) – offers reliable and convenient wireless power chargers for businesses, conference centres, airports, restaurants and other venues for the charging of mobile devices, laptops and drones.
Related: 21 Steps To Start-Up Success
Top Sectors For SMEs In 2019
“As such, SMEs in the construction, communications and electrical fields are all likely to benefit from supply and sub-contracting agreements over the coming years.”
While the South African economy has been underperforming for a number of years, the first positive signs of turnaround started to become visible by the second quarter of 2018, and by the end of the third quarter, data supplied by Statistics South Africa showed that the economy had indeed grown by 2.2 percent, compared to the previous quarter. This uptick is expected to have a positive effect on business confidence in 2019.
This is according to Jeremy Lang, regional general manager at Business Partners Limited (BUSINESS/PARTNERS), who says that certain business sectors have already seen an increase in opportunities for small businesses and start-ups.
“While these sectors will not be without challenges, the following four industries are likely to offer the best opportunities for small and medium enterprise (SME) owners to grow their enterprises in the coming year.”
The World Travel and Tourism report 2018, revealed that the direct contribution of the travel and tourism sector to South Africa’s GDP has been projected to rise from R136bn in 2016 to R197.9bn by 2028 – set to make up a total of 3.3 percent of the country’s total GDP, says Lang.
“Although this sector experienced some setbacks in 2018, such as the drought in the Western Cape and stricter visa regulations for children entering the country, both the water restrictions and visa regulations have been relaxed and the sector is once again poised for growth,” he says.
Statistics South Africa has credited this industry with being the biggest driver of growth in the country’s GDP, having expanded by 7.5 percent in September 2018, says Lang. “To bolster this, Government has made a concerted effort to stimulate small business growth in this area with initiatives such as the Black Industrialist Programme and the SA Automotive Masterplan.”
He adds that businesses in the manufacturing sphere could therefore likely see significant opportunities in the form of outsourcing contracts and new partnerships with large corporates.
“The debate around land expropriation has occupied most of the discussions surrounding the agricultural sector in 2018, with some questioning growth prospects of this sector. However, this industry has a lot of growth ahead of it, as demonstrated by its 6.5 percent growth over the last three months of 2018,” explains Lang.
“Further to this, the industry is also already taking significant advantage of seven climatic regions in South Africa, with the export of a wide variety of high quality fruit and vegetables increasing substantially,” he points out. The recent outbreak of foot and mouth disease that has resulted in the suspension of the country’s FMD-free status will however significantly impact meat exporters.
In terms of opportunities for SMEs, he says that these may most likely be found in the rural and underdeveloped regions, where the need for resources like efficient transport, state-of-the-art cold storage, better irrigation and private power generation will be key to making agriculture projects more productive and competitive in the export market.
Data and information technology
Connectivity and information technology infrastructure are both crucial to business and employment growth in South Africa, says Lang.
“With many municipalities and the Western Cape government committing to providing all of its residents with free data as part of a plan to expand public Wi-Fi network access, it is clear that this is also becoming a high priority on a state level.”
It has also been reported that South Africa is awaiting the arrival of three international data centres, and large players in the communications sphere, including Vodacom, Telkom and Vumatel, are making huge strides in drastically growing the country’s fibre optic backbone, he adds. “As such, SMEs in the construction, communications and electrical fields are all likely to benefit from supply and sub-contracting agreements over the coming years.”
In conclusion, Lang says that as South Africa’s economic growth has started to turn around, business owners should keep their ears to the ground as 2019 is highly likely to be a year of opportunity.
Herman Mashaba To Talk On City Of Jo’burg Job Creation Initiative
Herman Mashaba to talk on City of Jo’burg job creation initiative at 2019 Business Day TV SME Summit.
Leading organisations at the SME Summit
Start-up Advice1 week ago
6 Fundamental Steps To Consider Before Venturing Into The South African Cannabis Industry
Business Landscape2 weeks ago
How Algorithmic Forecasting Can Improve Business Efficiency In Challenging Economic Times
Start-up Advice1 week ago
Outdoor Versus Indoor: How Different Conditions Will Impact Your Budding Marijuana Business
Business Ideas Directory1 week ago
300 Business Ideas To Inspire You Into Entrepreneurship
Women Entrepreneur Successes3 days ago
How A Serious Car Accident Led Founder Relebohile Moeng To Starting Afri-Berry
Lessons Learnt5 days ago
(Slideshow) Top Advice From Local Entrepreneurs That Will Change Your Business In 2019
Start-up Advice2 weeks ago
4 Things Nobody Tells You About Entrepreneurship
Company Posts1 week ago
Success Fuelled By Partnership