Entrepreneurship News South Africa

Can female entrepreneurs weather the Covid-19 storm?

One of the focus areas at the Franchise Association of South Africa's (Fasa) upcoming Franchising in Africa conference is Covid-19's effect on female entrepreneurs and their revenue generation. The seminar is set to take place virtually on 25 and 26 August 2021. A recent study conducted by Lionesses of Africa reveals how South African women entrepreneurs persist despite daunting challenges. The research found that women entrepreneurs responding to the survey lead enterprises while managing family responsibilities with 76% having children in their home.
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The pandemic affected female employers to the extent that Covid-19 negatively affected their revenues by 82%. More than two-thirds reported that they had either reduced their own salaries or stopped paying a salary to themselves; and as employers had to make several changes to their staffing. Over half (58%) froze new hires, 41% reduced staff hours and wages, and a half laid off staff — 22% laid off permanently and 26% temporarily.

Despite this, South Africa’s women entrepreneurs expressed optimism about their revenue outlook for the remainder of 2021, with 76% of respondents expecting to increase their revenues. South Africa’s women entrepreneurs report a strong dedication to their communities and see a role for themselves and other women entrepreneurs in creating jobs. The motivations in launching their business enterprises reflect their interests in supporting themselves and their families as well as their commitment to uplifting others.

Female franchisees lead by example

According to Pertunia Sibanyoni, Fasa’s chairperson and CEO of InspectaCar, 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.

“As the country celebrates Women’s Month this August, it is encouraging to see how many strong women are heading up franchises or are successful franchisees – a figure that stood at over 30% in the 2019 Fasa survey,” says Sibanyoni.

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,” says Barbour.

Participating in Fasa's virtual conference and giving a global perspective will be some leading international businesswomen, including:

  • Ada Osakwe, the founder of Agrolay Ventures and Nuli Juice, and the winner of the Forbes Africa Businesswoman Award for 2021. She is an award-winning entrepreneur, investor and passionate African development advocate with experience in private equity investing, development finance, public policy and startup venture-building.
  • Kika Wise of Kika Stretch Studios is just one of three African American women franchisors in the country who built her franchise company in the hope of inspiring and empowering others. She is a businesswoman on a mission to educate millennials and other generations on how to preserve self and pursue franchising.
  • Andrea Bailey-Brown, CEO and founder at Bailey Brown Business and Franchise Consulting and a multi-franchise owner at Jiffy Lube is a serial entrepreneur who combined her knowledge from all her business endeavours to help entrepreneurs grow sales and increase profitability in their business so that they can become financially independent.

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