As a proudly owned female business we are invested in women and their success. In this article we explore some of the reasons why women go into business for themselves and make a success of it.
#1 No Choice
“Necessity is the mother of invention.” English Proverb
“Option A is not available. So let’s kick the sh** out of option B.” Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook
It’s not romantic or grandiose but many women go into business for themselves because they don’t have a choice.
The reality in this country is that most South African households are run by single mothers many of whom need to make extra money on the side, even if they are employed. In addition to this, this 60% of female headed households in South Africa are poor. In this overview, Understanding Poverty and Development, the statistics show that women in South Africa are the most affected by poverty.
So, out of despairing circumstances, many women make entrepreneurial plans which would impress anyone looking for a grass roots blue print of a low-cost, start-up strategy. The business may simply begin with by doing small things outside the “system” to make ends meet, which grows bigger over time.
These women help to keep the backbone of our country upright, mothers and entrepreneurs both. Necessity ignites the beginning of a small start-up which often transitions into a very successful business.
“Women hold up half the sky.” Chinese Proverb
By equality we mean women who want to be valued for their worth. The South African gender pay gap is estimated to be between 15% to 17%; so (generally speaking) a woman has to work two months more than a man, to earn the same amount in a year. Businesses not recognising a woman’s value with regard to remuneration, as well as promotion, are losing valuable employees to the realm of entrepreneurship.
For many an experienced woman not being noticed at work has sparked the gift of motivation for them to go out and become an innovative entrepreneur in their own right.
“And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” Marianne Williamson
Looking at the growth of successful female entrepreneurs we’ve been struck by the inclusive nature of their leadership. While many corporates are still organised by hierarchies and the “boss” system, women are often more geared towards mentorship over leadership.
The desire to share their own best business practices and help others, is prompting talented South African women to create successful businesses which suit their inclusive style.
“The best way to predict your future is to create it.” Abraham Lincoln
Women in business have been criticised for their lack of vision (underlined in a still often cited Harvard Business Review Article Women and the Vision Thing from 2009). We would argue the opposite in South Africa in 2016 and say that while the working world was designed for men by men, a women entrepreneur actually has a powerful sense of a better way of doing business. What could be more visionary than someone whose focus is on growing a business to uplift those closest to them? Often before they nurture themselves.
To the strong, innovative female entrepreneurs in South Africa, we salute you for improving the circumstances around you and uplifting the country, whether socially or economically, or both.
About: Matoyana Business Solutions
Matoyana Business Solutions is a boutique business consulting company located in Johannesburg, South Africa. It is targeted at start-ups, small and medium enterprises across Africa.
Contact: Nokwazi Mzobe