Women make up more than half of the population, however only one in five businesses in South Africa are owned by women. The economic potential of women is often overlooked and women entrepreneurs continue to face multiple challenges such as a lack of funding and higher-level education, and structural barriers, among other challenges.
Despite this, women entrepreneurs continue to forge their own paths to success across all sectors.
In celebration of Women’s Month, we look at industries that are ripe with opportunities for women looking to launch new business ideas.
To succeed in the digital marketing industry requires tenacity, adaptability and the ability to multitask. These are traits that women are traditionally associated with. Unsurprisingly, we have seen many women rise up the ranks to become influential marketers.
The digital marketing sector is a broad one and includes services such as social media, content marketing, SEO, email marketing, native advertising and paid ads.
Other business ideas women entrepreneurs can take advantage of in the field are visual content, audio content, copywriting and blogging. New opportunities, according to Andre de Beer from the digital marketing agency, V8 Media, are in consulting and coaching.
Social media influencer marketing is one of the industries in which women dominate.
Sprout Social defines influencer marketing as the following.
“A type of social media marketing that uses endorsements and product mentions from influencers–individuals who have a dedicated social following and are viewed as experts within their niche.”
Influencers make an income by working with brands and creating sponsored posts, campaigns and other advertising content.
South African women entrepreneurs are already behind many innovative digital platforms that are making life easier for millions. Some examples are BeautyonTApp, an ecommerce brand launched by Mathebe Molise that makes it easy to buy your favourite beauty products online.
SweepSouth is perhaps the most well-known female founded digital platform in the country. The online platform provides on-demand and regular home cleaning services on the African continent. It was founded by Aisha Pandor who is the CEO of the company, together with husband and CTO, Alen Ribic.
To build a successful app or digital platform, it’s important that you identify a real need among your target market.
Skincare and beauty
One of the most popular franchising sectors that women dominate, according to research by Franchise Association of South Africa (Fasa), are health, beauty and body culture. It includes business ideas catered to the women market such as hairdressing, cosmetics, weight loss treatments, women’s gyms, skincare clinics, nail and beauty bars, spas.
There are many South African women entrepreneurs that are changing the face of the beauty and wellness industry. Local entrepreneur Portia Mngomezulu, founder of Portia M Skin Solutions, is one such example. Her brand produces skincare for women and men and also has a baby range. All the products are available through her online shop, Pick n Pay and other retailers, and independent pharmacies.
Women have a dynamic role to play in all areas of society, including launching businesses in traditionally male dominated industries. We see women entrepreneurs continue to shatter stereotypes and find success in male dominated sectors like security, construction, steelworks and mining.
In a previous SME South Africa article Faith Mabena spoke on how women in the construction industry continue to face an uphill battle and deal with being underestimated. Mabena is the co-founder and director of Nokhanya Services, a construction company.
“Although historically, this industry may have been built on the backs of many men who were passionate about building and growing our country, women can bring a different point of view to any boardroom table (or construction site) and with different points of view comes change.”