Lack of funding, knowledge and skills are widespread drawbacks in Africa, which is why most entrepreneurs are taking advantage of financial literacy and social media to support their businesses.

The African Entrepreneurship Survey 2015 released by GeoPollGlobal Entrepreneurship Network and the U.S. State Department surveyed 1 000 entrepreneurs Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa on the entrepreneurship environment in their respective countries via SMS during the week starting on 13th July.

Of the respondents, 57 per cent were male and 43 per cent were female and the majority of all respondents were between 25 – 34 years old. Around 200 respondents from each country took part in the survey.

According the survey report, a majority of respondents said lack of funding was the biggest challenge facing new businesses.

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When asked what currently offers them the most useful support, the majority of entrepreneurs cited financial literacy courses (28%) as the number resource, while business courses (29%) were listed as the top requirement to support new businesses.

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Social media trumps general websites and crowdfunding as the most useful online resource in helping respondents’ businesses grow.

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Entrepreneurs leaned towards seeing better online trade and investments agencies when asked which online resource needed to be more effective in supporting them.

For women and young entrepreneurs, funding (41%) and government support (22%) access to market information (18%) and access to high-skilled workers (16%) are high among their list of support needs.

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Interestingly though, only 33 per cent of South African entrepreneurs took part in programs or activities aimed at improving their business in the last year, the lowest number among the five countries.

The report doesn’t state reasons why entrepreneurs did or didn’t take part in such programs, so it’s hard to gauge what may be behind the lack of participation by South Africans.

“As policymakers explore smart and sophisticated steps to develop healthy entrepreneurial ecosystems across the African continent, the voice of the entrepreneur must remain in the foreground,” said Jonathan Ortmans, president of the Global Entrepreneurship Network. “Being able to hear directly from the entrepreneurs should help guide our conversations.”

You can download the full African Entrepreneurship Survey 2015 on GeoPoll.

[Image – CC 2.0 by mkhmarketing]