This month we focus on women in business. Jeremy Lang discusses the closing parity between genders in entrepreneurship; we meet Judy Janse van Rensburg and Pat Duxbury in our success stories; and Gugu Mjadu discusses what businesses can learn from female entrepreneurs.
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SME Business Bang
August 2014   |   Volume 5.7

Gender parity within reach as numbers of women entrepreneurs keep rising

If lending figures from Business Partners, South Africa's leading finance house for small and medium enterprises, are anything to go by, genuine gender parity seems to be within reach in the local community of owner-managed businesses in the foreseeable future.

Jeremy Lang, Regional General Manager: Inland West of Business Partners, is quick to point out that in order to reach this parity South Africa still needs more female entrepreneurial role models. He says that the signs are however encouraging and highlight that a 50-50 participation of men and women on a more-or-less equal business playing field is no longer a distant dream.

Success story:
Born teacher finds her roots the entrepreneurial way

Judy Janse van Rensburg comes from a distinguished family of teachers who can trace their lineage several generations back to the time of governesses, but she herself only lasted six months in her first teaching job.

“It was the system that got to me,” says the Kempton Park based entrepreneur who has recently taken over an innovative franchise aimed at teaching children arithmetic and analytical thinking ...

Success story:
'Work hard, quietly and develop a thick skin'

Pat Duxbury knows the look that says “But you're a woman!” in the face of a client whom she meets at the start of a tour through the Kruger Park.

“As a woman, you always have to prove yourself. You work hard at the beginning of a tour, and after a day or two they (the tourists) settle down and are happy with you,” says Pat, who has built up Themba Tours and Safaris over the past two decades.

What the business world can learn from female entrepreneurs

It is widely agreed that women's style of doing business tends to differ from that of men, even though the distinctions are never clear-cut. But there is enough of a difference to suggest that the rise of female entrepreneurs is slowly changing the culture of the business world.

Is it a change for the better, and can all business owners, male and female, embrace this change and benefit from it? Yes to all of the above, says Gugu Mjadu, executive general manager of Business Partners.
She points to several positive traits that are discernible among female entrepreneurs, but which are by no means exclusive to them:
In this issue
Poll results Is gender disparity decreasing within the SME sector?
  • Yes, women are gaining ground
  • More could be done
  • Gender doesn't matter
View previous polls

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