Key Points:

  • South Africa does not fare well in measures of entrepreneurship across countries. We can do better if we focus on providing an enabling environment for individuals to grow their businesses.
  • 45% of working South Africans are employed in the small business sector. Against this, small businesses account for 60% of employment in most European economies, over 80% in Southern European economies, and even higher percentages in some East Asian economies.
  • The government’s main strategy for promoting small businesses has been to distribute support services and goods, rather than to create a freer and more supportive environment.
  • South Africa can do better if we shift the direction of enterprise support from government bureaucracy to public-private partnership, and if we celebrate the achievements of successful entrepreneurs.
  • Entrepreneurship can only flourish where the values of the market are thoroughly and widely internalised. Policies to support entrepreneurship should work with the market, and not try to over-rule it.