Agriculture, manufacturing and education are the three top industries that South African entrepreneurs are attracted to, according to the SME Landscape report An Assessment of South Africa’s SME Landscape: Challenges, Opportunities, Risks & Next Steps’ 2018/2019 .
Nobuhle Hlangoti, research analyst of In On Africa says some of reasons entrepreneurs are looking expand into those industries could include the government placing considerable emphasis on developing the agriculture sector, recent investments made in the manufacturing industry and the movement to utilise e-Learning services in the education industry.
According to a survey by SME South Africa, 10.7% of entrepreneurs said they want to expand into the agriculture industry, 10.4% said manufacturing, a total of 6.0% want to go into education and 5.6% cited the technology sector as an industry of interest, and for real estate 5.5% said they want to expand into this industry.
The report also reveals that the search for new business opportunities is the primary driver for expansion across industries. The report says that growth prospects per industry are additional stimulants in pushing SME owners to explore the available opportunities.
The report An Assessment of South Africa’s SME Landscape: Challenges, Opportunities, Risks & Next Steps’ 2018/2019 was launched recently by SME South Africa in Johannesburg.
The survey, commissioned by the Adclick Africa Media Group, was conducted with 1157 South African SME owners in SME South Africa’s database with the study conducted by independent research consulting firm, In On Africa (IOA).
The report offers a comprehensive assessment of the state of SMEs in South Africa, with a focus on the key challenges, opportunities, risks and proposed next steps.
Hlangoti explains why these industries may be attractive for entrepreneurs:
There are political and economic developments in South Africa that motivate entrepreneurs to expand into this sector (i.e the call for land expropriation), says Hlangoti. “The government has placed considerable emphasis on developing the agriculture sector, with the aim of decreasing reliance on food imports and increasing food security through investing in the sector.
“The government has committed to creating approximately 1 million jobs within the sector.”
According to Hlangoti, motivations for SME owners wanting to expand into this sector can be attributed to the recent investments made in the industry, including the R50 million automotive industry mega-development in Rosslyn, Pretoria. “It can be said that the sector is set to create both more income and job opportunities.”
Hlangoti believes that the attractiveness of expanding to these industries can be attributed to the increasing need for a strong education sector to produce the skilled workers necessary to economic development and the imperative of utilising technology to achieve sustainable growth.
“Also, within the education sector, there is a movement towards utilising e-Learning services,” she explains. “There is opportunity for SME owners to offer e-Learning services or even products that can make learning more accessible and efficient.”
She says with technology, tech start-ups are doing well in so far as being innovative and providing efficiency in different sectors of the economy.
According to Hlangoti, with a burgeoning middle class in South Africa, there is a need for more property in urbanised areas. “This presents a market for SME owners to exploit. Also, with an estimated 90% of new jobs coming from small and expanding firms in 2030, there is a need for property to house these expanding businesses.”
She says this presents an opportunity for real estate owners to provide solutions.