Igniting Startups For Economic Growth And Social Change

The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor South Africa (GEM SA) 2019/2020 report was published by the University of Stellenbosch Business School, with funding from the Small Enterprise Development Agency. 

Some of the key findings from the report:

Societal values regarding entrepreneurship show an upward trend from 2003 to 2019. Specifically, there has been an increase from 2017 to 2019 in the number of individuals who see entrepreneurship as a good career choice (from 69.4% to 78.8%) and one with high status (from 74.9% to 82.2%).

There has been a substantial increase (from 43.2% in 2017 to 60.4% in 2019) in the number of individuals who perceive that there are good entrepreneurial opportunities in South Africa and, importantly, believe that they possess the necessary skills and capabilities to start a business venture. This number is relatively high compared to other economies, especially those of countries in Latin America and Europe.

According to the 2019 findings, only 11.9% of respondents have entrepreneurial intentions. This means one in every eight South Africans may be considered latent entrepreneurs intending to start a business within the next three years. This is in stark contrast to the average of 40% in the rest of Africa.

There was a small increase in the total amount of early-stage entrepreneurial activity (TEA) in the country between 2016 and 2017. This momentum was not, however, carried through to 2019, which showed no real increase from 2017 at only 10.8%. This TEA rate was below the average of 12.1% for the African region in 2019.

South Africa’s business exit rate decreased from 6.0% in 2017 to 4.9% in 2019, but is still higher than the established business rate of 3.5%. This confirms that more businesses are being closed down, sold, or otherwise discontinued than being started.

There is clear evidence of purpose-driven entrepreneurship taking hold at the grassroots level – an encouraging sign of a collective will for future business sustainability

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