Does South Africa offer an enabling entrepreneurial environment?

20 Feb

Image appropriated from

“Nurture not nature does appear to be more important in shaping the entrepreneurial mindset.” __  Maria Pinelli.

That comment made by the president of the Republic of South Africa still lingers strongly on my mind. You will remember he said then that he declares 2011 as the year of job creation, and further to that the New Growth path set an ambitious target of creating 5 million jobs by 2020. A rational human being can ponder on what Mr president said then and the ambitious target set by another ever-awesome ruling party’s policy document, and ask very poignant questions such as “How will those jobs be created?” and “Why create 5 million jobs, while we can create 1 million businesses?”

Those are questions that will really seek very educated guesses and intellectual arguments. Let me rather be on a discovery to explore this question “Does South Africa offers an enabling and a supportive entrepreneurial environment for its citizens?”

A reasonably well-headed individual wouldn’t dare challenge the assertion that “Entrepreneurship is vital for economic and societal development in any given country. It is an established notion that any country which rewards and compensate innovation is bound to produce more entrepreneurs than job seekers. I am of the view that the culture of entrepreneurship empowers an individual who take the risk to establish a new enterprise, that will eventually lead to job creation and  the economy which integrates itself  competitively on a global sphere.

As a student with an entrepreneurial spirit at heart, I do not really believe in the fact that as students graduates they should knock at the doors of blue chip companies and leading service firms in search for employment. I believe that new graduates are innovative, driven and have the skill and the drive to start new ventures. However, most of aspiring entrepreneurs are dismayed in launching their new enterprises by the knowledge that funding in South Africa is highly inaccessible, despite many venture capitalist and many incubators and support organisation that the country boast about.

Does South Africa offers and enabling and a supportive entrepreneurial environment? I am still on the course to discover that, bear with me as I journey through the said discovery.

Total Entrepreneurial Activity or TEA for short is a widely used tool used to measure entrepreneurial activity by looking at the percentage of individual active entrepreneurs, between the age of 25 and 64, in any given country. A research paper issued by a leading bank in the country, titled “The Entrepreneurial Dialogues, State of Entrepreneurship in South Africa”, revealed a rather mediocre static that South Africa TEA  was standing at 5% following the economic crisis in 2009.

There are fragmented approaches that seek to inspire entrepreneurship in South Africa. May I take a liberty of mentioning NYDA, (without being rebutted) and The Department of Industry and SEDA, to name but a few. I have a feeling that these support structures have failed most of the country’s aspiring entrepreneurs because it (this fragmented approaches) do not seem to be producing acceptable results. Frankly, they are failing at an alarming rate.

Maybe, South Africa is not a country whereby entrepreneurship and innovation is rewarded.

However, I must put my naivety aside and admit that strides are being made in corporate South Africa to nurture the culture of entrepreneurship. The Business Report, reported online on the 20th of February, that another leading South African banking house  has launched Enterprise Development, a unit focused and dedicated to assist the growth and development of emerging enterprises.

Even though my accounts, do not answer the question directly, it is evident that South Africa is trying harder through concerted efforts made by private individuals and responsible corporate giants to offer a supportive environment for entrepreneurs.

C’mom, the world is our oyster, as they say, let us develop an entrepreneurial flair as students and help make Msholozi’s far-fetched dream of  creating 5 million jobs to see a light of day.

DISCLAIMER: Some of my thoughts may surprise you, you are not alone, I surprise myself sometimes…


Posted by on February 20, 2012 in Business, Economics


Tags: , ,

5 responses to “Does South Africa offer an enabling entrepreneurial environment?

  1. Bafedile Mafologele

    February 22, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    Does South Africa offer an enabling entrepreneurial environment? Truth be told if it did, a lot of people would not be calling others boss. I am of the view that it does not. My reasons are simply as follows:
    1) Banks don’t offer funding to anyone who cannot provide some level of security. Where do they expect a graduate to obtain funds from?
    2) I am yet to hear of a success story from the IDC again without security or without connections.
    3) You need to possess certain credentials and these often have nothing to do with your skill but everything to do with what your surname is. If you are Mandela or recently Gupta, you are going places.
    4) The playing field is not level. We are a society that redefines the meaning of all animals are equal but some are more equal than others.

    I could go on and on but fact remains, cash is king and without cash, you are going nowhere and in our country, access to cash is almost impossible.

    • Dumi-rocks

      February 26, 2012 at 1:15 am

      Thank you for your comment Ntate Mafologele.

      I agree with what you have painted on your comment. It is true that people see things differently.

      The readers of my blog on campus differed with me very much, they accuse me of criticizing the ANC-led government and they say I glorify the private sector. Until I referred them to your comment, they were able to agree that South Africa does not offer itself as an enabling environment for entrepreneurs.

      Thanks once again, and your continued support will be highly appreciated.

  2. Eben

    March 20, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    Quite frankly I believe that money is hardly the real issue. The fact is that there are few of us who are going to leave university to esteblish a large enterprise worth hundreds of thousands of rands. And even if this was the case I believe that we as students of business would know how to provide the financial information needed for establishment and future sustainance costs.

    There are two main issues in my mind when it comes to addressing the entrepreneurship problem in our lovely country:
    1) Relaxation of Labour laws, administrative hurdles and so forth. In other words the change must be aimed at enabling business to be run at a lowered cost and at less effort. However I have come to accept that the likelihood of this ever materialzing is highly imporobable.
    2) Innovation or rather creativity. This country’s entrepreneurs are too derivative in their thought process. One only needs to look around places like Kayamandi to realise this. I think that Education Ministers around the world should pay more attention to inducing creative thinking. How can we expect to make breakthroughs when all we ever do is copy?

    Having said all of the above my desire for entrepreneurial growth in South Africa knows no bounds. It is my dream to see our country rise to a point of economic prowess where everyone who works hard is rewarded for their efforts. There are too many hungry tummys and too little clothes.

    By the way Dumi I think your blog rocks

    • Dumi-rocks

      May 11, 2012 at 9:30 pm

      Thank you Eben. I concur with you on many grounds. The complexity of regulations and other laws are elephants in the room especially when people needs to start businesses and access finances.

      We share the same sentiment when it comes to ‘seeing South Africa flourish with entrepreneurship’.

      Thank you for your comment.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: