The number of women entrepreneurs continues to rise in South Africa nearly reaching the gender parity in small and medium business, Business Partners Limited (BPL) said last week, as the country celebrates Women’s Month.
Gugu Mjadu, BPL marketing executive GM, said signs were encouraging and highlighted that a 50-50 participation of men and women on a more-or-less equal business playing field was no longer a distant dream.
However, she pointed out that in order to reach this parity South Africa needed more female entrepreneurial role models.
BPL said in the last financial year no less than 41.63% of its investments had been to female entrepreneurs. In line with a slow, but steady annual increase, it was slightly higher than the previous financial year in which 41.16% of investments were allocated to women, the company said in a statement.
The rise in lending to women is mostly as a direct result of increased numbers of quality applications received by BPL from female business owners.
Mjadu said although her organisation’s conscious decision to empower women entrepreneurs played a slight role in boosting the figure, there is no doubt that the trend had to do with the steady rise of the female entrepreneurs in society in general.
Apart from increased numbers, she said several other trends were apparent in the rise of South African business women. “Scarcely a decade or two ago, women-owned businesses were mostly found in retail and service businesses, sectors with generally low barriers to entry. Today, increasing numbers are to be found in the last vestiges of male dominance, such as engineering, manufacturing and transport,” she said.
(From BPL). Photo credit: Spice4Life.co.za