Starting Up a Business in South Africa

Updated: Sep 30, 2021

a city with lots of buildings

While Africa’s middle class is rapidly accelerating, over 45 African countries are still deprived of any healthcare, education, adequate living standards, plus so much more.

In addition, less than 25% of African adults have bank accounts with financial institutions, making business that much tougher to successfully do throughout the continent.

Many African countries are still struggling to have access to necessities that many of us have the luxury of ignoring.

Some would argue that the Internet isn’t a necessity, but it connects us all over the world.

Thankfully, more and more Africans are gaining access to the web, but the numbers are still minute when compared to the rest of us.

With so many burdens come countless opportunities to build innovative solutions that could drive Africa upward and forward.

Starting Your Own Business in South Africa

Here are a few aspects to consider before launching your startup in South Africa:

Understand Your Market.

Knowing your market is key to being a successful business in any country.

You may assume that it’s more challenging to conduct market research about African consumers because many of them don’t have access to technology.

While that may be true in many parts of the continent, South Africa is the exception and studies show that there were 38.13 million internet users in January 2021.

Of those 38+ million users, there are bound to be some needs and demands that your business could fulfill, and Kasi Insight can help you find the research you need to understand your market.

Consider understanding things like:

● Is your product a need or a want?

● Does your market need your product, or do you just think they do?

● What are the current trends in your industry?

● How will the trends change in the next 5 to 10 years?

You should invest a good chunk of your spending to conduct market research to ensure a pivotal advantage during your startup journey.

Unsure of how much you should spend on market research? Check out our blog!


Once you understand your market’s habits and what they’re like, you’ll need to determine if your product/service fits their needs.

Experimenting is vital and pivoting means doing it more than once to meet the current and changing needs of your market.

When you run your experiments, you’ll need to define clear goals, parameters, and time frames with each process.

If it’s possible, take your consumers on the experimental journey with you by letting them know that you need their feedback.

Directly listening to your market will instill a sense of loyalty in your customers because they’ll feel they played a significant role in crafting the final product.

Understand the Regulations.

Regulations are challenging to navigate in any foreign country, but you better learn because engaging with regulators is inevitable when you're launching a business.

Make it a goal to convert the regulators you encounter into advocates for your solutions.

Take the time to understand the regulations of your industry, get the licenses you need, and pay the necessary taxes.

Be obedient with the regulations, but also do your homework and challenge any undue burdens that regulators take advantage of on foreign companies, should there be any.


Investing your life savings into an African-based venture could lead to a lot of debt if you don’t have more than one fundraising option.

To avoid any mixed feelings about turning to your friends and family for money, only approach individuals who have investing experience and who are comfortable with exchanging cash for equity through the proper legal binding paperwork.

Applying for a loan with a South African bank may be a less attractive option if the interest rates don’t meet your needs.

Therefore, other fundraising avenues could be applying for grants, entering competitions, or seeking funding from local and/or foreign investors.

Setting Up a Small Business in South Africa

Starting up a business in South Africa comes with its challenges, but it can also come with its rewards if you follow our recommendations.

You’ll have to understand your market before starting any business in any foreign country.

If you’re in need of a reliable data intelligence company, Kasi Insight has the analytics to help Africa’s emerging brands like you, get the answers you need.

Contact us on our website for questions, comments, or inquiries about starting up a business in South Africa.