Guest Post by: Tumi Frazier, founder of Tumi Frazier International
What can South African women entrepreneurs learn from women on the rest of the African continent? Earlier this year I wrote an article highlighting the decline of enterprises owned by South African women since 2008 to 2014, according to the ABSA SME Index. Yet, the statistics are very different in the rest of Africa. So, the question is, what are they getting right that South Africa is not?
Interesting enough, research shows an increase in women entrepreneurs in most parts of the African continent; in fact some of these women are on a trajectory, rapidly scaling their businesses globally. Whilst the decline in South Africa’s number of women entrepreneurs can be easily attributed to a number of factors, such as tough economic conditions since 2008, lack of access to funding, and many more, is it not also a question of whether we as South African women entrepreneurs are resilient enough? What can we learn from these women entrepreneurs in the rest of Africa who are achieving success?
"....in this country (South Africa) we have opportunities, resources and a level of support that we simply take for granted, and which women entrepreneurs from other parts of Africa do not have."
At the recent Global Women’s Summit, Melanie Hawken the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Lionesses of Africa, showcased women making great entrepreneurial strides in Africa, across all business and industry sectors, some of whom started businesses with little or no resources whatsoever. Panelists at the event from other parts of Africa also shared inspirational stories of women who have made it despite seemingly insurmountable odds. In fact, the South African women who were present in the audience alluded to the fact that in this country we have opportunities, resources and a level of support that we simply take for granted, and which women entrepreneurs from other parts of Africa do not have.
Here’s what I discovered through the discussions we had at the Summit, at which women entrepreneurs from nine countries were represented, eight of which were African.
- It is always a matter of survival for some women; many of these women use adversity to propel them forward; making them hungry for opportunities and determined to find solutions to whatever situations they face.
- Women entrepreneurs from the continent see possibilities even in the toughest of situations.
- Their relentless zeal, thirst for success, and willingness to overcome major challenges drives them to focus on untapped territories.
- They focus on business scalability and global markets.
- These women tap into whatever little resources they have at their disposal sometimes starting businesses with zero capital but grow them to incredible heights. While they admit that it is extremely difficult to run a successful business with small means, it is possible and many of them have done it!
- African women understand that there is no substitute for a good work ethic and are willing to put in the effort and pay the price no matter how long it takes.
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
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