More Industry InsightsNew Research Into South Africa’s SME Tech Landscape

August 21, 2023by myles0

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of South African small and medium enterprises (SMEs) effectively utilize technology, but a notable technology effectiveness gap exists between male and female business owners. This insight is derived from The South African SME Tech Index 2023, which gauges technology efficiency through research conducted by World Wide Worx for Nashua, a total workspace solutions provider.

The Index gauges SMEs’ self-reported high technology effectiveness percentages, enabling measurement across industries, company sizes, and leadership genders. The study, surveying over 300 SMEs, reveals a 72% SME Tech Index for male-led businesses, compared to 56% for female-led counterparts, underscoring a technology access discrepancy. Addressing this gender-based technology divide could potentially enhance growth and competitiveness for female-owned firms.

Bridging the Technology Divide

Arthur Goldstuck, CEO of World Wide Worx, emphasizes the higher business growth of female-owned companies, indicating competitiveness. However, these businesses perceive lower technology effectiveness and invest less in tech, hinting at barriers like resource limitations, training gaps, and societal norms. Addressing these issues through resource access, training, and mentorship could cultivate gender diversity, offering both business and economic gains.

Vibrant and Resilient: South African SMEs Stand Strong Amid Economic Challenges

The research paints a resilient picture of the SME sector. Despite South Africa’s economic challenges, 90% of business owners view their companies as competitive, with 58% experiencing growth in the past year and 85% expecting growth ahead.

SMEs confront load shedding, with 85% finding their countermeasures effective, primarily via generators (55.8%) and solar panels (16.5%) as backup power sources.

Tech Spending Trends: SMEs Invest in ICT

Within the sample, 45% raised tech spending in the last year, and 38% intend to do so in the next. Approximately 47% maintained spending levels, with 56% planning to continue this trend. Only 5.6% plan to reduce tech spending, down from the previous year’s 11.2%.

SMEs allocate significant budget portions to technology, with 56% investing over 5% and 28% over 10% in ICT. Technology infrastructure and service costs emerge as primary adoption challenges for both male and female SMEs.

Barry Venter, CEO of Nashua, underscores the SME sector’s importance and confirms the industry’s resilience and adaptability. He emphasizes Nashua’s commitment to offering solutions and insights that overcome barriers and aid businesses in thriving and preparing for the future.

Source: IT News Africa

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