Strategy to empower women, SMEs in minibus taxi industry
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As the country’s primary form of public transport, the minibus taxi industry is a prolific cog in the local economy. However, the industry is also one of the biggest business sectors in the country, generating an estimated R50 billion in annual revenues.
“It is therefore a significant sector for job creation and the life-blood of thousands of South Africans,” explained Maroba Maduma, communications executive at SA Taxi, the country’s independent financier of minibus taxis and one of the country’s few certified developmental credit providers.
Given its prominent role in the industry, SA Taxi aims to leverage the company’s vertically-integrated platform and proprietary technology capabilities to broaden inclusivity and create shared-value opportunities to ensure the sustainability of the sector.
“Central to this ethos is the empowerment of small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), especially those run by female entrepreneurs,” said Maduma. “To achieve this we provide SMEs operating within the minibus taxi industry with a complete financial and allied services offering, and deliver significant commercial benefits to taxi operators.”
Through its focused initiatives, SA Taxi has invested R3.5bn in empowering female entrepreneurs in the minibus taxi industry since 2008. During this period, SA Taxi has increased its female client base by an average of 4.5% a year, helping to create 8 473 female-owned SMEs and financing 12 092 vehicles - an average of 1.4 vehicles per owner.
“We currently have R1.9bn invested with 4 382 female taxi owners, who collectively operate 5 656 SA Taxi-financed vehicles,” explained Maduma.
However, it’s not just the female business owners who benefit, as each taxi in the minibus taxi industry creates 1.8 direct jobs. “This equates to 21 766 jobs created since 2008 by our female entrepreneurs, with 10 180 direct jobs currently sustained in the sector by SA Taxi-funded female entrepreneurs.”
While the impact that SA Taxi-backed female entrepreneurs were having on the industry and the economy was prolific, Maduma believed more must be done to uplift and empower female inclusion in the industry.
“Based on industry estimates, our female clients own just 2.8% of the minibus taxis that operate on our roads each day. This leaves significant scope for growth, which is why we would like to use Women’s Month to highlight the opportunities that exist in this sector for female entrepreneurs,” concluded Maduma.
Female entrepreneurs who are interested in exploring opportunities in the minibus taxi industry should visit www.sataxi.co.za for more information.