Though the entrepreneurial gender gap is slowly closing in many countries, some analysts believe that South Africa still has a long way to go to reach the level of developed countries in the area of women’s economic empowerment.
Only seven women in South Africa are engaged in early-stage entrepreneurship for every 10 male entrepreneurs, according to the 2016/2017 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor.
“It is important for both the public and private sectors to band together in order to create an environment where women entrepreneurs feel well-supported in terms of business growth and development,” Gugu Mjadu, spokesperson for the 2017 Entrepreneur of the Year competition, said.
“While female entrepreneurship is on the increase in South Africa, it is crucial for female entrepreneurs to speak out against the impediments to their development and learn from each other in order to promote entrepreneurship amongst women in South Africa even further.”
As women entrepreneurs in this Southern African nation continue to struggle to make any significant impact in this male-dominated sector, some female business leaders had the following to say about women’s economic empowerment:
Nelisiwe Magubane, chairperson of Matleng Energy
In order to truly realise this potential and assist female entrepreneurs to flourish, the utilisation of preferential policies as well as the prioritisation of female entrepreneurship should be maximised.
Refilwe Marumo, director of Mighty Comms
‘Big’ companies in need of subcontractors are expected to make use of a lot more women owned businesses. However, even with ‘friendly’ measures in place such as the latest Preferential Procurement Policy which includes the proposed new Preferential Procurement Regulations, it really is up to women to market their businesses effectively.”
Ouma Tema, founder of Plus-Fab
“South Africa is slowly but surely embracing the new era of women in leadership, and it is imperative for these leaders to be female role models in order for younger women to see the possibility of translating their entrepreneurial aspirations into reality.”
Lindy Scott, Managing & Creative Director of Conceptual Eyes
Although entrepreneurship is seen as high risk to many, in an emerging and dynamic market like South Africa, opportunity is everywhere.
“The market is equally diverse and women should not be scared to work in traditionally male industries; if your service or product adds value – be brave and go for it.”
Pic: courtesy of SupportBiz