SA’s entrepreneurs are not thriving, survey reveals

Image: Artisan Training Institute/

Image: Artisan Training Institute/

The survey found that the number of women entrepreneurs continues to grow slowly but opportunities are mostly for men and youth-owned businesses. 

A survey has shown that entrepreneurs across South Africa are not thriving, highlighting the need for more to be done to improve the country’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Seed Academy undertook the study of more than 1 000 entrepreneurs and found that the key challenges they faced included the inability to raise funds, finding customers, wearing too many hats followed by lack of guidance, slow sales, customers paying late and the unpredictability of business conditions across the county.

Accessing funding remains the biggest concern and challenge for entrepreneurs, with most of them largely self-funding and not applying for funding because they don’t know where or how.

“We see small progress in terms of business survival rates, revenue increases and more women entrepreneurs but what we really need is for stakeholders in the ecosystem to pull together and make major trajectory changes that support all entrepreneurs from seed through to scale-up stages,” Seed Academy CEO Donna Rachelson said.

“We still don’t have the basics right: early-stage funding and high impact business support throughout the entrepreneurial journey.”

Seed Academy has undertaken the survey for four years and says it is South Africa’s largest and most referenced such entrepreneur report.

Typical entrepreneurs in South Africa are mostly educated; have prior work experience; vary in age and are driven to entrepreneurship by seizing opportunities rather than necessity.

The number of women entrepreneurs continues to grow slowly but the opportunities are mostly for men and youth-owned businesses.

On average, South African entrepreneurs are employing between two and four people, the survey found.

It showed that only 5% of those surveyed had a turnover of greater than R5 million, while 22% had revenue of less than R10 000 per year and the majority, or 26%, had revenue between R50 000 and R100 000 per year.

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