In South Africa, it is estimated that SMEs makeup 90% of formal businesses, provide employment to about 60% of the labour force and contribute roughly 34% of GDP.
To celebrate the efforts of the SME sector, the UN General Assembly created Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Day. Now in its second year, the day seeks to recognise the world’s SMEs and entrepreneurs who play a key role in many developing markets, including South Africa.
Today on SME South Africa, we honour the role that South African entrepreneurs play as job creators. Below are some of our favourite quotes from South African entrepreneurs who are working to make a difference.
I believe I can have far more impact creating jobs, helping women advance, and making a difference to society as an entrepreneur – Khanyi Dhlomo
Take pride in being a job creator
“I have had opportunities to work in the corporate world, but I’ve chosen not to at this point. I believe I can have far more impact creating jobs, helping women advance, and making a difference to society as an entrepreneur.” – Khanyi Dhlomo, founder of the 100% black-owned media company, Ndalo Media. The company publishes award-winning print and digital women’s lifestyle magazines, DestinyConnect, Destiny Magazine, DestinyMan, ELLE and ELLE Decoration South Africa.
Take care of SMEs so they can take care of job creation
“Many successful South African business started as entrepreneurial entities – my business included. The reality is that our youth unemployment rate is mind-boggling and the only way out of this darkness is job creation by SMEs. However, these SMEs need support – both from government and the private sector. This project is our way of banding together successful small and medium businesses and corporates – many of which were also started by entrepreneurs –and assisting in a sustainable way,” – Lesley Waterkeyn, founder, and CEO of Colourworks, a marketing, design, and events company. The company is running an initiative dubbed 67 Logos which will see over R2 million Rands worth of design work and brand collateral handed over to “high impact” black entrepreneurs.
The African Gazelles, not the Unicorns will help create jobs
[African Startup] Gazelles also happen to be ‘super job creators’ and create a large share of new net jobs to support their faster growth rates. So to create a lot of jobs [in South Africa], we need to fund Gazelles with so-called ‘smart money’, accelerate their growth, and reduce the risk of failure through access to knowledge and market access networks. – Keet van Zyl, co-founder, and partner at Knife Capital, a Cape Town-based venture capital firm.
Innovation as an employment driver
“It’s no secret that we need to create more jobs in South Africa, and entrepreneurship is one of the keys to unlocking the creation of these jobs. What I have realized is; big business drives efficiency. Entrepreneurs don’t wake up in the morning thinking “I’m going to create jobs today”, instead they are driven by the idea of “I’m going to destroy jobs today”. And in that, they create jobs.” – Adrian Gore, CEO, and founder of Discovery Holdings.
An urgent necessity
“We have to create jobs. The success of businesses and all of us depend on job creation,”- Patrice Motsepe, founder of investment firm African Rainbow Capital (ARC) and mining magnate.
Startups playing their part
“SweepSouth has created thousands of job opportunities in the last few months for women, the vast majority of whom were unemployed, resulting in more than 100 000 hours of cleaning being completed over this time,”- Aisha Pandor, co-founder and CEO of SweepSouth, an online platform providing on-demand and regular home cleaning services on the African continent.