South African National Women’s Day celebrates the millions of women who continue to make a difference in our country. We decided to put the female business owner at the forefront this week, to help inspire you on your own road to business success.
According to SME South Africa’s SME landscape report, 47% of South African SME owners are women. We know from working with thousands of business owners how tough it can be out there, so we asked one of our valued clients to share her journey with us to discover what unique challenges female business owners face in South Africa.
Meet Sunette*, owner of a food wholesale business.
How long have you been running your own business?
Four years and counting.
What made you want to start your own business?
I decided that I did not want to work for a boss anymore. If I needed time off it was always mission impossible, which meant I couldn’t fetch the kids from school if they needed me or if there was an emergency.
What was the main challenge in the early days?
Capital when you need it the most.
What factors stand in the way of your business’s growth plans?
Capital remains an ongoing challenge. It takes time to make money, so we take it day by day and buy and sell as the need arises.
What would make your life as a business owner easier?
Being able to appoint staff and expand my business.
Do you feel that female entrepreneurs face unique challenges?
Oh yes. In my experience, men don’t take women seriously enough in the business landscape.
What made you decide to apply for business funding?
I needed access to working capital.
What was your opinion of business funding at the time?
I was always scared that the answer was going to be no, so it took me some time to change my mind and actually apply for funding.
Would you recommend business finance to other business owners?
For sure, no question about it. It’s solved my biggest problem, which is access to capital.
What advice would you give aspiring female business owners?
Just do it. It is always difficult to start, but once you do, it will be a new challenge and opportunity in your life. I’ve never looked back.
Access to business finance remains an ongoing challenge for SMEs. With unemployment currently at 32.6% and SMEs contributing 40% to the South African GDP, we remain committed to doing our part to support small businesses by offering easy access to business funding that is fast, transparent and paperless.
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*Not her real name.