Running a business in South Africa is just not the same as running a business anywhere else in the world. Sure, there are some universal challenges that every business will encounter at some point in their journey, but there’s a reason why the hashtag #onlyinsouthafrica has such a following. We’re unique – in our adversity; in the way we solve problems; and, as we saw in the 2019 Rugby World Cup final, in our victories.
So despite the many challenges that businesses face on a daily basis in our country, we wanted to celebrate a few proud points and inspiring thoughts about being a South African SME:
You want to make a difference
According to a report by SME South Africa, the number one reason given by South African business owners as to why they started their businesses was to have a positive impact in society. The impact of this motivation could create more job opportunities for the millions of South Africans who need them, as well as more businesses which are driven by purpose. Like Recruit My Mom, a platform that helps women find flexi-jobs that fit with their schedules, or Brownies&Downies, a coffee shop that also provides mentorship and training for people with intellectual disabilities – as well as delicious brownies!
You make a plan
Load shedding, water cuts or economic nosedives – you can count on South Africans to make a plan. Having to manage constant variables has become second nature to so many business owners and it’s fostering a nation of highly skilled and agile problem solvers. Lumkani, as an example, is a company that was established out of a need to solve the problem we face with fires in townships. The local company services informal settlements with unique fire detectors and insurance.
You’re empowered by tech
Technology and the age of the internet has been a huge unlock for businesses in terms of access. Even though 50% of South African business owners still feel that technology is holding them back from achieving their growth aspirations in some way, there are so many innovative South African businesses who are harnessing tech to break down barriers and create meaningful services for our communities. Like Namola, an app that allows you to very quickly contact emergency services by sharing your location with them. Livestockwealth has even created a way for people to invest in cows and for farmers to get the investment they need to grow their farms through their platform.
You’re a snapshot of South African diversity
When we interact with our Lulalend community, we’re always inspired by the diversity we see in the businesses and people we are able to support and provide funding to. This ranges from every industry you can think of: tech services to tattoo parlours, butcheries to bedding companies, doctors to DIY building suppliers. Some of the members in our community are only 19 years old, while others are well into their 70’s. Diversity is a measure of strength and a promising forecast of an even more inclusive economy.