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Three ideas for a small business in South Africa


If you want to become your own boss, here are three small business ideas to start in South Africa with little to no gatekeeping and minimal start-up capital.


Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) estimated that by the end of the 2021 fourth quarter, South Africa had an unemployment rate of 35.3 percent.

It is estimated that over 7.9 million South Africans are without a job, a number that it is believed will increase as the job market becomes more competitive.


In light of this, the push for entrepreneurship is one that the government and businesses have endorsed. But getting more entrepreneurs is not easily accomplishable as there are factors that create obstacles.

This includes getting start-up capital, gatekeepers, and a potential saturation in the entrepreneurial pursuits chosen. Below, we provide small business ideas to start with.

The benefits of starting your own business

The comfort of working for someone else is that the responsibility of getting paid is on the employer and not the employee. Moreover, depending on the specific job, there may be additional benefits included in your contract.

However, when it comes to entrepreneurs, these responsibilities are solely theirs, though that does not mean there are not any benefits of entrepreneurship.

There are, in fact, many. Some of these are that you control your own working hours. As a result, you are also in control of how much you make, within reason.

Moreover, through the creation of your business, you create opportunities for generational wealth as the business can grow over the years and be carried over to your children and so forth.

Three ideas for a small business in South Africa

Before sharing our top ideas of small businesses to start in South Africa, we want to take a look at a few hacks that can increase your chances of creating a successful small business.

Firstly, look for an opportunity, especially if the business idea benefits your community. Ensure that the business meets a demand in the community.

Secondly, start small but envision the big picture. This is especially important for those who want to start a business with little to no start-up capital.

This might mean that you would have to start selling sweets from your house before you can consider opening a tuckshop.

Remember, entrepreneurship is a long vision pursuit, and the little gains are stepping stones to the big goal. Therefore, do not be afraid to start small.

So, here are our three small business ideas to start in South Africa.

1.Content creation

One of the best small business ideas to start in South Africa is to become a content creator, otherwise known as influencer marketing.

Whether you choose to become a YouTuber or social media content creator, in recent years we have seen a rise in the popularity and commerciality of influencer marketing, locally.

In this venture, by creating a strong brand identity, you attract followers and companies to work with while diversifying your business in line with your content.

Think Mihlali Ndamase with Malakyt, Kay Yarms with the launch of her hair brand, Saxx Beauty, or Naledi M with the launch of the collective, The Real Housemates.


One of the best and most consistent small business ideas is making and selling food. Everyone has to eat and if your food business idea can fulfill a gap in the type of food sold in your vicinity, your business has a better chance of growing.

Of course, you can start small by selling affordable meals from your house, and thereafter, you can grow the business by buying a mobile kitchen that can travel and offer catering services in the future.

But first, it is important to grow your customer base, ensuring quality control and solidifying regular customers who will, hopefully, refer new customers because of the food quality and professional service received.


This is more applicable for people who live in urban and metropolitan areas. For many, laundry is a laborious task that is easier to have someone else handle or it is easier to send laundry to a laundromat due to a lack of space.

As such, you can corner the market by offering laundry services. This is a good idea, especially if you offer delivery and pick-up services, for which more can be charged than the standard walk-in price.

Another benefit of this business is that dirty laundry is always there, therefore, you will always have customers. This is unless the service, customer care, or pricing needs adjusting to attract new (and old customers to come back).

final thoughts

With an already competitive job market in South Africa due to the high unemployment, entrepreneurship is arguably the best way to create your own wealth and become your own boss.

However, some businesses are easier to start than others, as factors like gatekeeping and start-up capital can be an obstacle.

However, there are viable and low start-up cost businesses that you can start in South Africa. These require patience and that you put in the work, and have a long vision for the business to make it succeed


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