South Africa’s entrepreneurs remain upbeat despite a sluggish economy, and there should be more collaboration to improve the entrepreneurial ecosystem and help them thrive, a survey released on Tuesday showed.
The survey of 1,000 entrepreneurs across the country by Seed Academy found that several did not know how to access available support.
“The positivity of entrepreneurs is encouraging, and we have seen that when they are supported, they acquire skills that give them a much better chance of succeeding,” director of Seed Academy Donna Rachelson said.
“We need greater awareness among entrepreneurs about how to access funding interventions. Both the development finance institutions (DFIs) and private sector funders need to develop appropriate marketing, and have accessible online/digital tools to assist entrepreneurs.”
She noted that entrepreneurship had been recognised, at the highest levels, as necessary to boost economic growth, create jobs in a country with record high unemployment, and make South Africa globally competitive.
A multi-stakeholder consultative process should be undertaken to improve the entrepreneurial ecosystem – both in terms of the policies guiding entrepreneurs and the current offerings, said Rachelson.
She added that entrepreneurs were often too risky for investment by DFIs and there needed to be more accessible funding options for early stage entrepreneurs requiring small amounts of working capital.
“If changes are implemented to support entrepreneurs, there will be more new entrants to entrepreneurship as a job choice, and the lines between full time and part time entrepreneurs will become increasingly blurred. For this to happen, we need economic stability and a dynamic, enabling environment,” said Rachelson.