Is the spirit of entrepreneurship still alive and well?


Research by the 2016/17 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report shows that SMEs in South Africa account for approximately 36% of South Africa’s gross domestic product, and the National Development Plan cites that SMEs are expected to provide a staggering 90% of new jobs by 2030.

With every report of the closure of big names in South Africa – from international brands Dunkin Donuts, Baskin-Robbins and Hamley’s due to poor management and trying trading conditions there are other stories of young and vibrant brands – like Ubuntu Baba and Superlatte taking on the big players to fight for their place in the entrepreneurial space.

And survive and thrive they will as the spirit of entrepreneurship knows no bounds and is often the catalyst for success. It might be a lot harder but in our world of disruption and as we head into the 4th Revolution where anything is possible through emerging technologies, entrepreneurs will always be at the forefront of innovation.

Profiled on and giving his insight into what it takes to be an entrepreneur, Lester Philander, a Junior Achievement South Africa alumnus and owner of Essential Candles, which manufactures and supplies branded candles for restaurants, hotels, corporate and social events, gives some realistic and practical advice on being an entrepreneur.

Balancing the excitement of embarking on making your dreams come true with the reality that it will be a hard road and not a quick-road-to-riches endeavour must always be uppermost in any entrepreneurs’ mind, says Lester.

The economic environment and the challenges of breaking into difficult markets heightens the risk that entrepreneurs face and as Lester puts it, ‘taking the risks and making mistakes becomes the gateway to building your entrepreneurial style and developing character.”

Futurist and strategist Clem Sunter (, writing in an article for the FASA Franchise Manual believes that to succeed in our changing world, whether in life, politics or business, now more than ever, abiding by certain ethical rules of the game are critical for a growing global economy. His five rules for a world-class business to follow include;

  • Focused excellence where the product/service offering is seen as different in certain ways to that offered by competitors
  • A well-developed vision but with the agility to amend the vision if markets change in an unexpected way.
  • Market share as the paramount objective with profit a result.
  • Fundamental research and development to keep a technological edge.
  • The growth of a unique body of knowledge and skills within the organisation.



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FASA Franchise Association South Africa

To protect, lobby, promote and develop ethical franchising across all sectors in South Africa with specific focus on transformation.
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