CHALLENGES FACING BLACK FEMALE ENTREPRENEURS IN SOUTH AFRICA
Entrepreneurs around the world face numerous challenges in the effort to get their businesses off the ground and become sustainable and self-reliant. The hindrances faced by women around the world as a whole in the quest to run their own businesses are only emphasised by the challenges black women in South Africa face as a group. The literature on female entrepreneurship and the challenges particular to women have mostly focused on females in developing and developed nations; only limited research is available on specific race groups in these nations. This report draws from, among others, international findings on female entrepreneurship, and attempts to identify those specific challenges that black female entrepreneurs face when operating a business in South Africa. This report also gives an account of the impact of these challenges on black female business owners in South Africa as well as some of the social traits that are distinctive to this group. The findings reported on in this paper are based on feedback from the personal interviews conducted with a select group of black female entrepreneurs based in Gauteng, South Africa. This research has uncovered some interesting findings. On the whole, black women in South Africa have joined the global trend of self-employment. The feedback collected indicates that black female entrepreneurs also face the issue of lack of access to start-up capital for their businesses and even funds to aid their cash-flow. On the one hand, some of the women interviewed attribute this difficulty to the stringent measures employed by financial institutions, while others point out that the challenge is more around the type of finance needed. The experience of some of the women is that South African banks still place high reliance on traditional risk rating for business lending, which often depends on collateral as a prerequisite. The end result has been encumbering for the majority of black female entrepreneurs who don’t have access to savings large enough to indemnify their start-up loans. But it’s not all negative. The media offers a reassuring picture of the growing number of acclaimed black female entrepreneurs since the start of South Africa’s iii democracy who can offer mentorship and guidance through evolving business networks. In addition, black women appear to be more entrepreneurially minded now than ever before in the country’s history. Their new challenge is the struggle to balance work life with personal time, as seen with other global female entrepreneurship research. Most insightful is the array of personal, cultural and social issues that black female entrepreneurs face in their other roles as business owners, wives, mothers and daughters in South Africa.
Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurs, Female