It’s clear that female entrepreneurs – womenpreneurs – are building great businesses in South Africa, and making a difference to our country as they do it. Analysing the top entrants from our 2022 Womenpreneur Pitch-a-ton gave us some valuable insights into who our country’s most dynamic womenpreneurs are, what kind of businesses they’re running and what industries they’re involved in.
In the wider context, Access Bank is deeply involved in the upliftment and support of female entrepreneurs in Africa. Each year, our Womenpreneur Pitch-a-ton invites womenpreneurs from all countries in which Access Bank operates who have been in business for a year or more to pitch to win a cash flow injection for their startup, as well as an education voucher.
Locally, our 2022 South African Pitch-a-Ton drew almost 3000 entrants, consisting of a collection of wonderfully dynamic and inspiring women who are making a difference in the lives of ordinary South Africans through the businesses they’re building. Here are five key insights we drew.
Out of our entrants, 57% were between the ages of 20 and 35 years old, while only 36% were between the ages of 36 and 50, and an even smaller 7% were over 50 years old. This age spread implies that our womenpreneurs are either in the height of their careers when deciding to start their own business, or they’re doing it as a side project while earning most of their income from another primary employment source. Either way, they’re seeing the entrepreneurial journey as worthwhile despite the obvious challenges: in this age bracket they may not be financially established yet, or they may be raising a family at the same time.
From developing bucket filters that provide clean drinking water for rural communities to providing accessible, fixed-rate legal services to SMMEs and individuals, our womenpreneurs are socially minded – that is, they’re all for making a profit, but they’re also running businesses that are helping others too. One of our entrants has developed a speech, hearing and dysphagia clinic aimed at helping marginalised communities, while another has a business that produces pre-cast concrete blocks and concrete products for RDP housing. As well as providing goods and services to those who need them most, companies like these are also creating jobs for others to help alleviate the huge unemployment problem in South Africa.
Within the Pitch-a-ton entrants, we found that many women are running businesses in industries that are traditionally male dominated. For example, 26% of entrants were in the agriculture space, 7% of entrants were in the manufacturing sector and 4% were in technology. It was also interesting to see that many businesses within the agriculture category are providing basic services to uplift poorer communities. One example is a farm initiative that aggregates produce for clients and teaches farmers about quality and standard requirements, helping to create jobs, improve food security issues and alleviate poverty.
Among our entrants, the vast majority (95%) employed between 0 and 2 people. In contrast, only 4% employed 9 employees or less, and only 1% employed 10 people or more. This is to be expected given the young age of many businesses: over half our entrants had businesses that are a year old, 34% are between 1 and 4 years old and only 12% are over five years old. Over five years is the point at which we’d expect fund injections to enable the business to grow and mature so that it’s able to employ more people. Then again, this may be the nature of South African startups in general: the 2022 OECD report, Financing SMEs and Entrepreneurs, found that two out of three SME owners run their own enterprises and don’t have any employees at all.
Among the entrants, 39% were located in Gauteng, 13% were in KwaZulu-Natal and 10% were in the Western Cape. This would suggest that the larger metropolitan areas are more favourable for womenpreneurs in terms of things like accessing raw material, basic infrastructure like power and water and manufacturing capabilities. This geographical spread may also be impacted by the accessibility of a viable market, and transport networks for supplying goods and services to other parts of the country. In future years, we’re hoping to see more entrants from other provinces and rural areas so that we’re able to support womenpreneurs outside of South Africa’s larger metros in order to make our competition more representative.
Of the businesses who entered, 52% had an annual turnover of R50 000 or less, which equates to an income of R4167 per month. This would imply either that the business provides a very basic income to the owner, or that it’s a supplemental business to add to the overall household income where other earners are helping to share the load. It does appear, however, that turnover is affected by the industry a business is in: the highest turnover business was in the fashion industry, whereas the collective lowest ones were in the agricultural sector.
Think you have what it takes to enter our next Womenpreneur Pitch-a-Ton? To enter, you’ll need to be a woman who runs her own business. Your operation must be innovative and require financial assistance and additional training to expand. Is this you? Read more about how to enter here.
|__hssrc||session||This cookie is set by Hubspot. According to their documentation, whenever HubSpot changes the session cookie, this cookie is also set to determine if the visitor has restarted their browser. If this cookie does not exist when HubSpot manages cookies, it is considered a new session.|
|cookielawinfo-checkbox-advertisement||1 year||The cookie is set to record the user consent for the cookies in the category "Advertisement".|
|cookielawinfo-checkbox-analytics||11 months||This cookie is set to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Analytics".|
|cookielawinfo-checkbox-functional||11 months||The cookie is set to record the user consent for the cookies in the category "Functional".|
|cookielawinfo-checkbox-necessary||11 months||This cookie is set to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Necessary".|
|cookielawinfo-checkbox-others||11 months||This cookie is set to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Other.|
|cookielawinfo-checkbox-performance||11 months||This cookie is set to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Performance".|
|__hssc||30 minutes||This cookie is set by HubSpot. The purpose of the cookie is to keep track of sessions. This is used to determine if HubSpot should increment the session number and timestamps in the __hstc cookie. It contains the domain, viewCount (increments each pageView in a session), and session start timestamp.|
|bcookie||2 years||This cookie is set by linkedIn. The purpose of the cookie is to enable LinkedIn functionalities on the page.|
|lang||session||This cookie is used to store the language preferences of a user to serve up content in that stored language the next time user visit the website.|
|lidc||1 day||This cookie is set by LinkedIn and used for routing.|
|__hstc||1 year 24 days||This cookie is set by Hubspot and is used for tracking visitors. It contains the domain, utk, initial timestamp (first visit), last timestamp (last visit), current timestamp (this visit), and session number (increments for each subsequent session).|
|_ga||2 years||This cookie is installed by Google Analytics. The cookie is used to calculate visitor, session, campaign data and keep track of site usage for the site's analytics report. The cookies store information anonymously and assign a randomly generated number to identify unique visitors.|
|_ga_7830NTLLXS||2 years||This cookie is installed by Google Analytics.|
|_ga_8FT0WQ6XG7||2 years||This cookie is installed by Google Analytics.|
|_gat_UA-199321007-1||1 minute||This is a pattern type cookie set by Google Analytics, where the pattern element on the name contains the unique identity number of the account or website it relates to. It appears to be a variation of the _gat cookie which is used to limit the amount of data recorded by Google on high traffic volume websites.|
|_gcl_au||3 months||This cookie is used by Google Analytics to understand user interaction with the website.|
|_gid||1 day||This cookie is installed by Google Analytics. The cookie is used to store information of how visitors use a website and helps in creating an analytics report of how the website is doing. The data collected including the number visitors, the source where they have come from, and the pages visted in an anonymous form.|
|hubspotutk||1 year 24 days||This cookie is used by HubSpot to keep track of the visitors to the website. This cookie is passed to Hubspot on form submission and used when deduplicating contacts.|
|_fbp||3 months||This cookie is set by Facebook to deliver advertisement when they are on Facebook or a digital platform powered by Facebook advertising after visiting this website.|
|bscookie||2 years||This cookie is a browser ID cookie set by Linked share Buttons and ad tags.|
|fr||3 months||The cookie is set by Facebook to show relevant advertisments to the users and measure and improve the advertisements. The cookie also tracks the behavior of the user across the web on sites that have Facebook pixel or Facebook social plugin.|
|IDE||1 year 24 days||Used by Google DoubleClick and stores information about how the user uses the website and any other advertisement before visiting the website. This is used to present users with ads that are relevant to them according to the user profile.|
|test_cookie||15 minutes||This cookie is set by doubleclick.net. The purpose of the cookie is to determine if the user's browser supports cookies.|
|VISITOR_INFO1_LIVE||5 months 27 days||This cookie is set by Youtube. Used to track the information of the embedded YouTube videos on a website.|
|YSC||session||This cookies is set by Youtube and is used to track the views of embedded videos.|
|AnalyticsSyncHistory||1 month||No description|
|CONSENT||16 years 6 months 1 day 12 hours||No description|
|li_gc||2 years||No description|
|UserMatchHistory||1 month||Linkedin - Used to track visitors on multiple websites, in order to present relevant advertisement based on the visitor's preferences.|
|yt-remote-connected-devices||never||No description available.|
|yt-remote-device-id||never||No description available.|