Female Entrepreneurship in SA: Challenges and Breakthroughs

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Nearly one in every four female African entrepreneurs has innovated in some way. This shows just how much potential female entrepreneurs have to offer in South Africa. Yet, female entrepreneurs still face their fair share of challenges. 

Female entrepreneurship in SA still has a very long way to go. Far too few women are actively involved in business, and many challenges are still holding women back from starting their own businesses. While this is progressing and new opportunities are developing, female entrepreneurship in SA is an area that needs some serious attention.

Female Entrepreneurship Challenges in South Africa

The percentage of women entrepreneurs in South Africa is still relatively low compared to other countries. In fact, it was recently pointed out that 40.7% of South African women aged between 15 to 60 are regarded as economically inactive.

 This mainly comes down to a few key challenges, including:

  • Social and cultural barriers: Many women in South Africa have been traditionally expected to prioritize their families over their careers. This has limited many women from following their business dreams.
  • Limited education: Many women in South Africa have had limited access to business education and training to help them succeed as entrepreneurs.
  • Access to funding: Many aspiring female entrepreneurs have barriers when trying to secure funding for their businesses. 
  • Networks: Business networks often play an important role in starting and developing a new business. Many women in South Africa have very limited professional networks. 

While female entrepreneurship is certainly growing, these challenges have traditionally held back many female entrepreneurs or made it difficult for women to start businesses. 

Female Entrepreneurship Breakthroughs in South Africa

Despite the challenges outlined above, female entrepreneurship is certainly gaining strength in South Africa. A lot of this comes down to new programmes and initiatives set out to help develop entrepreneurship in the country. 

The South African government has various funding and development initiatives in place for entrepreneurs. This includes grants, as well as educational and skill development programs to assist business owners.  

There are no specific government-funded initiatives aimed towards women, but female entrepreneurs can score more points than males in the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) rating system. This does open up new doors for female entrepreneurs in the country.

There are also privately funded initiatives set out to develop female entrepreneurship in SA. For example, MTN’s ‘Y’ellopreneur’ aims to improve intervention for female entrepreneurs. Other foundations and programs exist to help strengthen the future of South Africa’s female economy. 

While female entrepreneurship in SA still has a long way to go, it’s important that women understand what opportunities exist and pursue these. The lack of female entrepreneurs also means there is a lot of room for women business owners to enter the market. 

If you’re looking to start a business, understand what initiatives exist to help you develop skills, make business connections, and even access funding. This can help you turn your entrepreneurship dream into reality. 

Read Also: Social Entrepreneurship in South Africa