More women in business Makes It Better for all of us

Female entrepreneurship is rising in South Africa, and this is excellent news. At a time when many economic sectors are in decline, South Africa is one of only 12 economies in the world where women’s entrepreneurial activity rates increased, according to the latest Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs.

Still, while more than half our population is female, fewer than a fifth of South Africa’s businesses are owned by women, leaving us placed 45th globally. Uganda, Botswana and Ghana do much better, all with close to 40% of their businesses run by females.

Clearly there is massive room for improvement, and our women in business need all the support they can get, from all of us. Perhaps even more crucially, we need them. Supporting women in business makes sense for everyone. Here are eight reasons why:

  1. Women’s economic development stimulates and positively impacts their communities, and women-led businesses tend to directly and immediately benefit those around them.
  2. Women are overwhelmingly the educators and caretakers of the nation’s children; they invest heavily in the future of their children, and therefore in the future of all South Africa.
  3. Women are more highly represented in small businesses. In 2020, the National Development Plan stated that 90% of the 11 million jobs that need to be created, would be created through small businesses.
  4. Gender parity in business is linked to more rapid economic growth and more poverty reduction – empowering women’s entrepreneurship fuels a global economic recovery that is more equitable and sustainable for everyone.
  5. Female-owned businesses offer higher returns and tend to be more financially successful than those owned by men. Investing in their growth and success is the best way to bolster the economy as a whole.
  6. Supporting a women-led business provides ongoing improvements for women, as women-led businesses employ from 2,5 to 6 times as many women as other businesses.
  7. Women-led businesses are more likely to be focused on making a social contribution and building good relationships with employees, while also delivering greater credit turnover than male-led businesses, according to the Harvard Business Review.
  8. Empowering women in business is good for business as a whole. Increasing employment and leadership opportunities for women increases organizational effectiveness and growth. It is estimated that companies with three or more women in senior management functions score higher in all dimensions of organizational performance.

One of the many areas that’s been identified, that would help women in business to succeed but where there’s currently a lack of support, is mentorship, communication and networking among and between business women. As one tiny step in that direction, if you are represent a fellow women-owned, -founded, or -run business that is a customer, distributor or supplier to The Apothecary, we salute you especially this Women’s Day and Women’s Month 2022, and thank you for every opportunity we have to work alongside you.

Resources used and referred to in this article: