Female entrepreneurs on the increase

FNB Business has seen an increase in the number of female owned businesses and female entrepreneurs over the past two years. The Bank says the average growth rate in women owned businesses within the FNB Business customer base is approximately 11%, generally fluctuating with the economic cycle.

According to Sanjeev Orie, CEO of FNB Business Value-Adds, “The growth in the number of female entrepreneurs is a positive development for South Africa because women make up over 50% of the national population. The main challenge is ensuring that women who have started businesses get the necessary support, to not only survive but thrive.

The first two years are crucial in the lifespan of SMMEs. Within our client base, we have observed that businesses which have been operating for less than two years tend to succumb to tough economic or operating conditions. Therefore, our objective is to offer increased support and cost-effective solutions to enable the businesses to be sustainable.”

The importance of small businesses in the country has been widely recognised both by the public and private sector. According to the National Development Plan (NDP), government views small and medium enterprises (SMMEs) as contributing about 90% to the growth target of 2030.
Currently, about two-thirds of the labour force in the country is employed by SMMEs, translating to a contribution of about 50% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The main factor is that small enterprises are usually more labour-intensive than large corporations, therefore possessing the ability of creating the much needed employment for the economy.

“Over the last five years, South Africa has been moving in the right direction in creating a better ecosystem for entrepreneurs. However, we need to accelerate our joint efforts because the longer we delay implementing proposed solutions, the bigger our challenges become,” adds Orie.

Over the years, FNB has formed a number of partnerships to boost the ease of doing business in South Africa. The Bank currently facilitates business registration in collaboration with CIPC and recently announced a joint-venture with Empowerdex to process applications for BEE certificates.