Business Ideas For Small Towns In South Africa – UPDATE: This article is part of the Township Entrepreneurship series for SMEs in South Africa. This article was originally published in October 2018, due to its popularity, it was updated on October 18, 2021 with new town business ideas in South Africa.
South Africa’s towns have always been a hive of entrepreneurial activity, but oversaturation in some sectors has affected their chances of success. These are generally sectors with low barriers to entry and low capital requirements.
Business Ideas For Small Towns In South Africa
This is starting to change as more entrepreneurs try to start businesses in previously unexplored industries, which could fuel the next multi-million rand venture.
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Many of these trends are driven by young, mobile black professionals seeking greater convenience and service, says Kabelo Selebalo, founder of Menzion Digital, an Ehurhuleni-based design and development agency serving town businesses.
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This market trend has spread to many cities across the country, and many entrepreneurs are opening or cooking their own food markets.
These entrepreneurs appeal to a young and trendy audience looking for authentic experiences like food, fashion and music.
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The growth of this trend also means that big brands want to participate in such events.
New players in the field of towing services are starting to appear in the city market. If you have experience in this field while it is still in its infancy, now is the time to act before the market becomes oversaturated.
District rentals are evolving to accommodate the young working class who seek the solitude and opportunities offered by urban areas without leaving the district.
These complexes often take the form of simple bachelor’s apartments or one-bedroom apartments (usually no more than 20 units) in gated properties, and some are even equipped with Wi-Fi.
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Demand is driven by lower rents (compared to urban areas) and convenience. We’re likely to see more growth in the Kasi mini-complex, mostly around towns, near areas like Soweto and Thembisa.
On-demand services continue to grow. The city’s marketing is embracing this trend in the form of laundry services.
Like the cash register trend, the laundry service trend is mostly driven by millennials seeking more convenience.
This market has grown significantly over the past few months, and companies in this space are expanding their offerings and starting to add a delivery option with branded vehicles.
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Josephine Mokgwasa, owner of Mokgwasa Creations, opened her bakery in the Kagisa district of Krugersdorp last January after completing a five-week baking course. In addition to making cakes for its customers, Mokgwasa also organizes cake tastings on a weekly basis to not only introduce a new product to its customers, but also develop recipes.
Mokgwasa uses a Qhubeka bike from the nonprofit Qhubeka Bike Project to deliver smaller cakes, and an Uber to make larger deliveries on time.
He says the target customers of his bakery are those who organize events such as weddings, funerals, parties, official dinners, and office workers. Mokgwasa says location is important to his business in the county. She also sells her products at gas stations to take advantage of pedestrian traffic.
Mokwasa says it cost 10,000 rand to install it. This includes equipment such as an oven, mixer, refrigerator, scales, silver steel butcher table and cake counter.
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Mamovie guests get a low-budget cinema experience with pop-up Kutlwano Tlhapane movies and popcorn at Kagiso.
To start Mamovie, Tlhapane needed access to the following equipment: a computer with internet access, a 1080 horsepower projector, a popcorn machine, a bicycle, a folding plastic table, extension cords and forks, an anti-theft case, and a white screen. . (a large white cloth is used).
Tlapane says he uses Facebook and WhatsApp to promote his events, as they are more cost-effective. “Posters and brochures will be used sparingly to promote pop-up movies for a long time until [the event] day. I would also use a community radio station [to advertise].”
Currently, the prototyping phase of movie sessions is being held at home in the garage. Tlapane said, “Long term, I want to have film screenings in primary schools in Kagiso.
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Boni And Bike, a cycling event organization founded by Dr Mafokeng, offers cycling lessons and monthly social outings for local residents and tourists of the Kagiso community.
The organization has recently partnered with Make Your Mark, a youth development organization, Investec, an international banking and wealth management group, and Qubeka, a bicycle project, to open a small bicycle repair shop operating in Mafokeng’s garage. “We were given the necessary tools and spare parts to start the workshop,” he says.
Mofokeng says they have two mountain bikes. “One of our biggest challenges is the availability of bikes to run our venture effectively, we always have to rent bikes from a supplier in Saweta.”
Several county entrepreneurs spoke in previous interviews with SME South Africa about how they partnered with others to organize events in their communities. These events help build brand awareness and provide an additional revenue stream for their business.
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Cafe owner Sikelela Dibela of Siki’s Koffee Café in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, says she regularly hosts events in collaboration with other entrepreneurs in her community. “For example, I held a session in the ghetto with a friend for a community poetry event – it was supposed to connect people.”
Lethaba Makoena, founder of shoe and sneaker cleaning company Walk Fresh, says they often host events in the classic town. “We also have our own bimonthly event, Don’t Trip Session, which is a music session we hold in-store dedicated to exploring alternative sounds,” explains McCoena.
McCoena said Walk Fresh has also been invited to commercial events and local soccer tournaments to showcase their services.
The founders of the famous streetwear brand Thesis Lifestyle added events to their brands in 2009. They host events like Thesis Social Jam Session, where local unsigned artists and comedians are given a platform to showcase their talents.
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Sibongile Ntamane, owner of Blvck Lupé Arts and Couture, is an artist specializing in murals, murals, photography, illustrations, henna tattoos and custom (hand-painted) clothing.
“I started my business because a lot of people love art, they like to have their own portrait sketches, so I wanted to meet their needs and set an example for other artists where you can excel in art,” Ntamane says.
Ntamane says she started her business with art supplies and a camera. Their target customers are art galleries, schools, hotels, clubs, parties and private individuals. Ntamane says she does internet marketing to promote her business.
Sifisa Moyo, the founder and CEO of the lifestyle shop The Box Shop, says that the tourism services in demand in the districts are transfers, tour operators and of course accommodation. “I don’t think there are enough Airbnbs here.”
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Moyo says the area has locals exploring beyond their own communities, so there are opportunities for entrepreneurs to create packages to help them travel beyond the locale.
Moyo also says they hope the Box Shop, located in the districts, will be known as the place to buy African clothes. “If you look in Dubai, people go there to buy.”
Airbnb Experiences arrived in Cape Town in 2017 and launched in Johannesburg in 2018. Local residents get the opportunity to become an “expert” by showcasing cultural activities related to food, fashion or physical and cultural activities.
There are experiences like town walking and urban farming in Johannesburg, cooking classes in Durban and photo shoots at Bo Kaap in Cape Town, as well as partying in town in Hyelit in Cape Town and sandboarding in Port Elizabeth.
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Food delivery became popular during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. This is because the curfew introduced in March 2020 encourages more people to shop online.
We’ve seen some entrepreneurs take advantage of the digital trend to offer courier and delivery services. From groceries and takeout to chronic medication delivered by bike, there was a shortage of innovative ideas. Other creative aspects for this business model include mobile spa shops, personal shoppers, and the use of apps like Zulzi On Demand or Bottles.
During the habituation period, photographers got innovative with family photo shoots at home. As more people seek social distancing and stay at home, emerging photographers are finding unique ways to offer photography services. An example of this is photographer Daniela Zondag, who organized a photo session via WhatsApp. The probe rings your doorbell, positions itself at a safe distance, and takes your photo.