Cape Town - Despite the challenges facing aspiring entrepreneurs, SA’s small business activity over the past eight years has shown vast improvement, according to Christo Botes, spokesperson for the Sanlam/Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year competition.
Botes said the competition has not only witnessed greater interest in entrepreneurship from South Africans, but the quality and innovation of entrepreneurial entities has also improved.
In the light of Global Entrepreneurship Week (November 12-18), the quality of South Africa’s entrepreneurs should be recognised to develop a stronger entrepreneurial culture in the country, he said.
"We seem to be lagging in comparison to other developing countries."
Botes said the calibre of entrants in 2012 for the Sanlam/Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year competition is proof that the quality of entrepreneurship in South Africa is improving.
Competition winner and owner of Plantation Shutter Company, William Duk, said he viewed starting his own business as an opportunity to take control of his destiny and to follow his dreams.
Duk said starting a small business allows entrepreneurs to make a real and tangible difference to the lives of South Africans by generating employment.
"This was more than emphasised by the fact that the 22 entrepreneurial finalists employ over 1 200 people.
"Overall, in percentage terms, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) provide over 50% of the formal employment in South Africa, which is extremely significant.
"The bottom line is that entrepreneurship is not always the easiest path to follow, but it is a deeply satisfying and rewarding to be making a difference."
Botes said local entrepreneurs need to become better at spotting and taking advantage of "entrepreneurial gaps" in specific industries to create sustainable businesses and foster job creation.
“As South Africa’s economic prosperity relies heavily on the actions and successes of its existing and future entrepreneurs, spotting these gaps is crucial for the country.”
*Share your experience
of setting up your own business, or simply ask a question. Our
business panel can put you on the right path.