Johannesburg - The biggest stumbling block to entrepreneurship in South Africa is laziness, local businessman Charles Ngobeni believes.

“We wake up late and go to bed early. The secret of success in any business is hard work. Hard work does not kill,” he said on the Candid Business radio show on this week.

Ngobeni owns seven Wimpy franchise outlets as well as other businesses and employs 300 people.

He bought his first Wimpy franchise in 1986 and was one of the first black people to contract with Wimpy towards the end of apartheid.

His first outlet was in Hillbrow in Johannesburg.

“At that time Hillbrow was Hillbrow and we still had a lot of white people there… At that time Wimpy was regarded as a white man’s eating house.”

Ngobeni said he had had a number of successes and failures in business.

It was important to learn from your failures when they happened, he noted.

“From my failures, I have come up with valuable information that helped me with my next business.”

He found that franchising was the best way to transmit the support he had received.

“Banks also look at a franchise business more favourably than your own business. Ninety percent of start-up businesses fail but the majority of franchise businesses succeed.

“Consumers like buying something with a brand name.”

Ellis Mnyandu, the editor of Business Report and the show’s executive producer, said that the recent creation of a government ministry dedicated to small business development was the clearest recognition yet of the role entrepreneurship could play in creating economic opportunity for unemployed South Africans.

The South African economy continued to be beset by structural impediments, including the inability to create a vibrant entrepreneurship culture, he added.

“What has been in abundant supply has been talk but very little action to put small business at the centre of transforming the economy. Funding hurdles, bureaucratic red tape, lack of support, a dependency culture [and] the monopolistic structure of our economy [have] all contributed to the dismal state of business in South Africa,” he concluded.