SA entrepreneurs motivated by passion, choose work over family


South African entrepreneurs are especially motivated by love of their businesses and a sense of achievement when compared to their global counterparts, which comes as a costs as almost half say they have chosen their work over family.

This is according to a new global survey conducted by software firm Sage, which found 51 per cent of South African entrepreneurs are motivated by the love of their business, while 59 per cent are motivated by the sense of achievement.

This is well above the global average, where 41 per cent are driven by love of what they do and 38 per cent are motivated by the sense of achievement.

This come at a cost, however, with 44 per cent of South African business owners saying they have chosen their work over their family, compared to the global average of 36 per cent. Globally, 44 per cent of entrepreneurs say their dedication to their business has affected their relationships.

Sage said globally the world’s small and medium business owners have contributed US$8.3 trillion to the global economy by working beyond standard industry hours. Nearly half (46 per cent) of global business owners work over 40 hours a week, with 57 per cent of German entrepreneurs working these long hours.

Germans were proven particularly dedicated by the survey, in fact, with 52 per cent of small business owners saying they have cancelled a date because of work, compared with the global average of 27 per cent. Over half of all business owners (66 per cent) say the extra hours are worth it.

“We know it takes hard work and human sacrifice to turn a dream business idea into a way of life. This survey highlights the extent of that commitment. It is the entrepreneurial spirit that makes the difference all over the world, and the contribution of these businesses that powers the global economy. We should do all we can to support these heroes and recognise all those hours of hard work they are putting in after the rest of the world has gone home,” said Stephen Kelly, Sage chief executive officer (CEO).

Sage international president Ivan Epstein said there has been a “surge of entrepreneurial energy” throughout Africa, with many people building businesses that serve the community, create jobs, and catalyse prosperity for their wider societies.

“Sometimes, this demands great personal and financial sacrifice on their part,” he said.

“We see these African business owners as the engines of the economy, fuelled by a passion for improving their lives and helping their communities. It is heartening to see African governments recognising just how central they are to the continent’s growth story.”


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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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