What is the role of entrepreneurs in South Africa’s future?

By Kenaleone Gape
5/26/2020 | 4 min read

Understanding entrepreneurship 

Entrepreneurship has become somewhat of a buzzword. So, people may have various understandings that they are comfortable accepting. Some explanations are more precise and others can be relatively broad and sometimes confusing. Even with a world of knowledge available online, different sources compile various schools of thought that may not always relate to localised context.

So let’s bring this one home a bit so we can better grasp what lies ahead for South African entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship can be understood as the innovation and development of new products, techniques, services, and business models. Altogether offering something new for the betterment of humans and processes while making a profit. Another definition of entrepreneurship is identifying needs and creating opportunities by offering solutions. This includes identifying a gap in the market or the need for a more effective and efficient product or service that may not be new. This definition is often more encompassing and relevant to emerging markets like South Africa.

The consensus is that entrepreneurship is a process of planning, organising, operating, and assuming risk.

The Role of entrepreneurship in South Africa 

The role of entrepreneurs is to find and exploit opportunities. Being resourceful with land, labour, and capital can contribute to national economic growth through goods and services, the distribution of wages, and contributing as taxpayers. In turn, having positive effects on Per Capita Income and the GDP of the country.

It’s especially important during difficult economic times. When small and entrepreneurial companies can spot opportunities they can produce innovations that raise productivity, create economic growth as well as job creation. They are of course not expected to do this alone. According to USB-ED, Investments in public infrastructure and policies by the government to lower obstacles, helps to optimize and enhance the contribution of entrepreneurs, especially amid the 4IR (4th Industrial revolution).

Altogether these collaborative efforts boost the national economy and aid in the development of social capital.

Current impact of COVID-19 on entrepreneurship

As the coronavirus COVID-19 spreads across the country and calls for lockdown measures from the government to protect citizens from contracting the virus in large numbers, it’s having a devastating impact on economic activity. So far SMEs and early-stage entrepreneurs are being hit the hardest. Many of whom are retrenching employees because they cannot afford to pay them or keep up with operational expenses. While others are facing the reality of having to close down because there’s little to no demand for their products and services and potentially no income.

COVID-19 is disorienting the economic landscape and the entire entrepreneurship ecosystem is being tested. Social distancing, quarantine, and other movement restrictions are causing a fall in the demand for goods, labour shortages as well as disruptions in the supply chain. This is hindering innovative solutions to connect entrepreneurs to the support that they need from the government and development organisations that aid these critical drivers.

Current opportunities for entrepreneurs in South Africa 

It’s scary but it’s not all doom and gloom. In retrospect, some great and sustainable ideas implemented during recessions created notable successful entrepreneurs and companies. If you’re up for the challenge and headed in this direction take note of the following untapped business opportunities in South Africa and see how you can make your mark in the economy.  Below is a list of opportunities worth exploring and resources to consult to help you get started:

Human Capital, Delivery Services, Off-Grid Solar, Healthcare Access. Laundry Services, Hairdressing Services, Freelance, Farming, Senior Citizen Care, Logistics, Digital Solutions. Learn more about these on Business Opportunities in ZA. Two other resources worth visiting are Entrepreneur.com and WeForum.

May COVID-19 be the crisis that that helps you spot opportunities that you are passionate about and set you off on your entrepreneurship path or meaningful career.



By Kenaleone GapeTags:
  • 4IR
  • close down
  • COVID-19
  • Entrepreneurship
  • GDP
  • Opportunities
  • Products
  • retrenched
  • Services
  • SME's
  • South Africa


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