Rapelang Rabana is CEO of Yeigo Communication
Cape Town - South Africa has been named one of sub-Saharan Africa’s entrepreneurial front runners after a global report placed it in second place, after African counterpart Botswana.

According to the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem of South Africa: A Strategy for Global Leadership report released this week by the Global Entrepreneurship and Development Institute, South Africa’s entrepreneurs continued to make good strides with entrepreneurial activity.

The report was commissioned by the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation and the South African Breweries Foundation in order to better understand the role that entrepreneurship is playing in the country.

The intention was also to benchmark South Africa globally, look at achievements and strengths, and to assess areas for improvement so as to know how best to guide resources and policy in the coming years.


Anthony Farr, chief executive for the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation, said: “The report confirms South Africa’s position as an entrepreneurial leader on the continent and provides an insightful road map for us to focus in on those areas that will provide the greatest leverage for accelerating our entrepreneurial ecosystem even further.”

SAB Foundation director Bridgit Evans said the foundation worked with 80 new entrepreneurs every year and had positive experiences of innovation and growth, along with a well-developed entrepreneurship ecosystem.

“We have struggled to reconcile this with some misconceptions regarding South Africa’s lack of entrepreneurship and our perceived poor performance against other countries.

"Along with the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation, we wanted to give an alternative view.

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"We are pleased with the results, which show we can congratulate ourselves and be proud of what has been achieved in the entrepreneurial space, while still being realistic about what needs to improve in order to drive economic growth and job creation.”

The findings highlight South Africa’s positive performance in entrepreneurial aspirations, innovation, high growth, internationalisation and risk capital, which are all considered important elements to achieve economic growth in the country.

The report further showed that South Africa provided better conditions for entrepreneurship when compared with 20 other countries with a higher per capita gross domestic product, including Russia, Mexico, Brazil and China.

The report covered 28 countries in the African region, which amounted to 54 percent in total, and shows the country’s position globally when it comes to new businesses, competitor position, new businesses offering new products and new businesses using new technology, and ranked the country in the top 25 percent of countries surveyed globally in those areas.

However, stumbling blocks exist, and factors such as finance, skills, access to local and international markets, education and the right network needed to be addressed to ensure that South African entrepreneurs were able to grow and thrive, according to the report.

The report suggested that South Africa needed better, innovative and growth-oriented entrepreneurs, who were motivated to grow and prosper within the South African environment and through constant engagement with the global economy.

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Meanwhile, DHL Express recently launched its Growing Beyond Borders entrepreneurial training programme in sub-Saharan Africa, an innovative programme specifically designed to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) understand the economic potential of international trade and the subsequent benefits to their businesses.

Since its launch the programme has been rolled out in Botswana, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia and Madagascar, while the first official session in South Africa will be held in Joburg this week.

John Lucas, managing director for DHL Express South Africa, said: “If we can empower SMEs to seize opportunities, this will further stimulate much-needed economic growth.

"SMEs have an advantage over larger, established companies."