Focusing on women entrepreneurs for the future


At FASA’s Franchising in Africa virtual conference held in August, the role of women entrepreneurs took center stage where the results of a unique survey by Lionesses of Africa were presented – designed to provide better insights into the contribution being made by women entrepreneurs to job creation in the country.

The first South African Women Entrepreneurs Job Creators Survey report provided key insights into the pivotal role women play as job creators. Top line findings from the report indicated a deep commitment to job creation among South Africa’s women entrepreneurs, with 90% reporting that job creation was an important consideration in starting their businesses. In addition, despite all the challenges and setbacks of the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the survey revealed ‘green shoots’ of optimism in terms of future job creation.

The majority of respondents anticipate that their businesses will recover from the impact of COVID-19 within two years; they anticipate growth in revenues and are either actively recruiting new staff now or planning for new, near-term hires. The survey was undertaken by Lionesses of Africa, a network of over 1.3 million women entrepreneurs across the African continent, together with New York University, and supported by Absa.

“Given the role of female entrepreneurs as employers and as engines of economic growth across the continent”, says Melanie Hawken, Founder and CEO of Lionesses of Africa, “it is important to understand their strengths as well as the challenges that they confront, to learn how best to support them as business leaders, both during and after COVID-19”

Female Franchisees Lead By Example

The franchise business model is one that allows anyone to get into business for themselves but not by themselves and more women are finding a business home in the franchise world and paving the way for others to do the same. It is encouraging to see how many strong women are now heading successful franchises – a figure that stood at over 30% in the 2019 FASA survey.

Lindy Barbour, Director of  The Franchise Firm believes that franchising offers a relatively low risk barrier to entry, especially for women starting out as entrepreneurs. “The benefits of skills transfer and the ongoing support of the franchisor make it far more attractive than pursuing an independent start-up. Add to that the fact that women set very high standards for themselves and are generally more detail-orientated, and you have a formula for success.”

Sasha-Lee de Bod, partner at Franchising Plus, whose work includes developing women’s roles in franchising by establishing a franchise portal for women believes that “women play a far greater role in franchising than is generally known and indications are that their involvement will become even stronger in future.”

Pick n Pay wants more women entrepreneurs to join it’s supply chain

As one of FASA’s longest-serving members and a great supporter of franchising, Pick n Pay is calling for more women entrepreneurs to join its retail supply chain, on the back of more of its customers purchasing quality goods produced or sourced locally by women-owned businesses.

With more than 2 000 black-owned small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) in its supply chain, and knowing that more than 50 percent of all black-owned SMMEs were women-owned, Pick n Pay confirmed its spend on black women-owned SMMEs increased from R2bn in the 2019 financial year to R5.4bn in 2021.

According to Mishinga Seyuba-Kombo, the head of enterprise development at Pick n Pay “women-owned business are a really important part of our supply chain. They help us provide an excellent service and some of the best-loved products to happy customers.”

Pick n Pay’s Enterprise and Supplier Development Programme provided a holistic package of support for SMMEs, and provided opportunities within its supply chain.

“We want to encourage more women to take that leap of faith and become entrepreneurs. Many of these businesses or services have the potential to succeed and help create jobs. It’s a real privilege to stand behind them and support them all the way”, said Seyuba-Kombo.

FASA Franchise Association South Africa
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