South Africa is the second-best African country for women entrepreneurs!

The latest Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs found that South Africa is one of the best African countries for female business owners in the small and medium enterprise sector.

South Africa came second only after Botswana and in 37th place globally. This position puts us above countries like Hungary, Italy, Ghana, and Angola.

More South African female business owners in 2021

The Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs found that more South African women started a business in 2021 compared to 2020. Other African countries that saw a similar trend were Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia, Angola, and Botswana.

Unfortunately, some female entrepreneurs had to start businesses in 2021. That was due to job losses driven by the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing lockdown measures.

Overall, the most significant factors that caused an increase in female entrepreneurs in South Africa in 2021 included the following:

  • Availability of SME venture capital, which is a factor that plays a critical part in easy and fair access to finance.
  • Perceived opportunities and capabilities, for example, a high representation of women in leadership roles
  • Female necessity-driven entrepreneurship
  • Female opportunity-driven entrepreneurship
  • Higher education entrepreneurial training
  • Internal market openness, or positive attitudes to entrepreneurship
  • Political stability and absence of violence

Women business owners are a critical investment in our economic future

Jane Prokop, Executive Vice President, Global Segment Lead for SMEs at Mastercard, said in her foreword of the Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs, that women business owners are not only good for communities but a critical investment in a country and the world’s economic future.

Prokop added, “From owners of local stores to providers of health- and childcare; to leaders of new technology companies and everything in between, women entrepreneurs are pivotal to our expanding economy. The entrepreneurial spirit sees opportunity every day to reimagine, refresh and reinvent. Creating the right social, political, and financial understanding and conditions for that spirit to take hold and produce real-world effects is of singular importance for future economic growth.”

What is the Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs?

The Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs (MIWE) uses 12 indicators and 27 sub-indicators to measure the ability of women to progress and thrive in the business world.

To see precisely how women are faring in business, financial, education, and workplace settings, the MIWE compares female entrepreneurs to their male counterparts at a national level and their peers on a global level.