Guest Post by: Tumi Frazier, founder of Tumi Frazier International
While South Africa is one of the more sophisticated emerging markets in the world due to its developed policies, laws, infrastructure, new technologies and so forth; it is unfortunately also one of the most difficult places to do business given the bureaucratic and legal hurdles entrepreneurs face.
So, how do we meet the country's ambitious National Development Plan goal of creating eleven million new jobs by 2030, if we do not simultaneously create an enabling environment for entrepreneurship and SMMEs, the very sectors that drive job creation and economic growth.
According to the ABSA SME Index, the percentage of enterprises owned by women in the country has declined by 14.2% between 2008 to 2014; this can easily be attributed to tough economic conditions that most entrepreneurs have faced in the last six years. However, in stark contrast, the percentage of self employed men increased by 8.2% since during the same period.
The index further reflects that the number of employed women increased by 12.6% during this time, as opposed to a 1.8% increase in the number of men employed.
According to the ABSA SME Index, the percentage of enterprises owned by women has declined by 14.2% between 2008 and 2014
It is evident that women left their businesses to pursue full-time employment for various reasons such as starting families, seeking stable income, undertaking further study, and so forth.
Yet interestingly, research also shows an increase in women entrepreneurs in most other parts of the African continent and the rest of the world; the United States leads the way amongst those countries with the right conditions to foster high potential female entrepreneurship. These conditions include entrepreneurial aspirations, entrepreneurial environment and entrepreneurial ecosystem.
If women are to have a significant impact on the South African economy, they need a supportive environment that makes it easier for them to start businesses, expand their services, introduce new products or enter new markets, access new technologies, get access to finance, and most importantly mentorship, in order to gain the necessary skills as well as the expertise that goes along with being successful business owners.
So, what are the 5 Steps we can take to improve this situation?
1. Improve women entrepreneurship skills
As women entrepreneurs we need to acquire different sets of entrepreneurial skills, such as creativity, tenacity, resilience, patience and risk-taking, to enable us to effectively navigate our way through tough business and market environments. This is the only way we can survive in this Age of Instability.
2. Government support agencies must up their entrepreneurial mindset
Whilst government has set up entities that support entrepreneurs, it is crucial that these entities employ people with the essential business skills and entrepreneurial mindset, able to adequately assess business ideas, business plans and funding requests.
3. More and better business incubation
Creating accessible and effective business incubators that provide support in terms of facilities, learning, networking and mentorship to increase the success rate of start-up companies.
4. Less red-tape please
Alter some of the lengthy, cumbersome business start-up procedures and regulatory discrepancies.
5. Better co-ordination between ecosystem role-players
Build market-based ecosystems for broad-based wealth creation by combining various support structures from government, corporations, educational institutions and incubators to have greater impact instead of each operating individually. This way we tap into the vast purchasing power, trapped resources and entrepreneurial drive that exists in communities.
Tumi Frazier is a South African entrepreneur, professional speaker, author, TV personality, consultant, and founder of Tumi Frazier International, Tumi Leadership Academy, and Tumi Foundation. Tumi is an internationally acclaimed Leadership and Change Management expert who has worked with high profile clients and organizations across Africa, United States and Europe. Tumi has authored 4 books: Courageous Stories of Inspiration; In the Midst of the Storm; Stepping Stones to Success; and Your Moment. Follow Tumi Twitter | LinkedIn