Johannesburg - While South Africa has made progress in reducing the gender bias for women engaging in early stage entrepreneurial activities, the number of women business owners remains constrained by a lack of entrepreneurial intent, perceived business opportunities, and shortage of support and resources such as capital and training, according to findings from the second Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs (MIWE).
South Africa moves up one place from last year to rank 22nd (score of 64.2) on the Index, which tracks female entrepreneurs’ ability to capitalize on opportunities granted through various supporting conditions within their local environments.
The index uses three components made up of 12 indicators and 25 sub-indicators to look at how 57 economies around the world differ in terms of the level of Women’s Advancement Outcomes, Knowledge Assets & Financial Access, and Supporting Entrepreneurial Factors.
Despite a healthy MIWE score, women account for only 18.8 percent of business owners in South Africa (rank 42), indicating that their progress in entrepreneurship has been disappointingly low compared to other countries measured. Ghana (46.4 percent) ranks first in the world with the highest number of women business owners, followed by Russia (34.6 percent), Uganda (33.8 percent), New Zealand (33 percent) and Australia (32.1 percent).
“Today, women entrepreneurs play an increasingly vital role - socially, professionally and economically - in driving the South Africa economy. However, they remain underrepresented among the ranks of entrepreneurs. This discrepancy is not just a gender issue, it is an issue of economic growth which needs to be addressed,” says Mark Elliott, division president of Mastercard, Southern Africa.