New study unveils key factors of entrepreneurial success

JOHANNESBURG – 2 September 2020 – Financial markets research firm, Intellidex, announced today the findings of a new study on entrepreneurship in South Africa showing key factors for building high-growth enterprises. The report, based on interviews with 25 of the country’s top entrepreneurs, reveals that relevant education, work experience and ultimately a desire for freedom are key ingredients for success.

In the midst of the Covid-19 crisis, it is more important than ever to create and nurture resilient high-growth businesses that generate employment opportunities. Collectively, the companies founded by the entrepreneurs who were selected and interviewed employ a staggering 312,957 people – an average of 12,518 jobs per entrepreneur.

“We opted for a research framework that highlights the interplay between the individual entrepreneur, the entrepreneur’s social context, the business, the industry and the economy. This helped us develop insights into the factors driving success for entrepreneurs in a new an interesting way”, says Dr Graunt Kruger, the lead researcher.

E Squared Investments funded the research. “Since the advent of democracy and reintegration of South Africa into the global arena in 1994, a new breed of entrepreneurs from different backgrounds, communities and business sectors has emerged. This report highlights the diversity of entrepreneurs in the country and their experience growing successful businesses in South Africa ”, says a company spokesperson.

The research finds that there is no specific formula to entrepreneurial success. The various experiences shared by entrepreneurs foster hope and a sense of optimism as they point to common character traits, attitudes and behaviours that successful South African entrepreneurs have displayed.

The entrepreneurial journey is rife with obstacles and challenges; one such challenge is appointing the right employees. Because businesses are, in essence, the embodiment of the people who work in them, the entrepreneurs in our study felt that their ability to address this problem was an essential factor of success.

They also stressed the importance of networking activities – at incubators and other industry gatherings, entrepreneurs meet other entrepreneurs, potential mentors and relevant industry contacts. Networking with other entrepreneurs is particularly important because they share similar challenges and experiences and are able to offer empathy and guidance.

We found that business ideas were a combination of passion, the right opportunity and applicable skills and knowledge. And successful businesses always have some way in which they distinguish themselves from others.

One finding that is encouraging considering our Covid-constrained economy but is also possibly counter-intuitive is that some entrepreneurs feel that it’s better to build a business in touch economic times. This teaches you to be lean, efficient and to maximise opportunities, enabling you to flourish when the economy swings back into a growth phase.

Intellidex and E Squared Investments are hosting a series of webinars based on the specific themes from the report findings, with successful entrepreneurs on the panel to explain the report findings. The webinar themes and dates are:

  • Jo Mathole of Kwame Diamonds

2 September: What are the psychological and demographic attributes of successful entrepreneurs?

  • Kagisho Mahura of Gradidge-Mahura Investments

9 September: What role do founders’ networks – their families, schools, churches, universities or communities play in enabling their success?

  • Antoine Pailluseau of FinChatBot

16 September: What does the entrepreneur have to get right in the business?

  • Thomas Pays of Ozow

23 September: How do industry dynamics affect entrepreneurial success?

  • Polo Radebe of IDF Capital

30 September: How do macroeconomic factors influence people’s decisions to pursue entrepreneurial activities?

For the full report, click here.