Report reveals local women entrepreneurs bridge digital divide in SME sector 

The latest Mastercard MEA SME Confidence Index report has indicated that more women-owned businesses in South Africa adopted and integrated digital solutions into their businesses versus their male counterparts. 

MasterCard reports that women-owned SMEs strongly believe in a cash-free economy

The report data has revealed that 79% of South African women entrepreneurs are using an online payment method in their business and 94% opt for social media as an effective tool to market their business paired with 91% using an online company website. 

Suzanne Morel, Country Manager for Mastercard, South Africa eludes to the fact that women-owned SMEs may hold a strong hand in reviving the sector. 

“Women small business owners are showing resilience and incredible adaptability, despite having to navigate lockdowns and restricted supply chains due to the Covid-19 pandemic. While several challenges remain, it is encouraging to see how women-owned SMEs are transforming the way they do business to benefit from the digital tools including safe and convenient electronic payments solutions that are currently shaping commerce.” 

A digital and cash-free economy

The report further reveals that there is strong confidence in digital transactions with 67% of SME owners surveyed indicating that the digital payment methods are simple, quick and effective in both card and mobile payments. 

Women entrepreneurs surveyed in the report have also nodded their head towards the use of digital payments as when questioned on the biggest benefit to a cash-free economy relayed that it is an easy method to increase the efficiency of transactions across several channels. 

Other factors also contributed to their belief in opting for digital payment methods such as faster access to revenue, credibility with banks, the decreased risk of fraud and the ease of not handling cash. 

In an official press statement, Mastercard further indicates the strong movement of women-owned SMEs adopting and integrating digital innovation in their business. 

“Eighty-nine percent of women SMEs agreed that digital and online payments are important in helping them grow their business, 86% lauded the safety and convenience of contactless payment technology, while 77% conceded that their customers prefer to pay through digital methods since the outbreak of the pandemic.”

Not only does the benefit of digitisation relate to payment methods but the report indicates that women SMEs in South Africa are able to effectively use data and insights to drive their business and increase its growth potential. 

Morel concludes Mastercards commitment to supporting women-owned SMEs. 

“At Mastercard, we want to help as many women-owned businesses to reach their full potential as possible. Last year, we made a global commitment to connect 25 million women entrepreneurs to the digital economy by 2025 by providing them with the tools, training and solutions they need to survive and thrive now, and in the future.”

Read more:Innovation Edge calls for pitches for SA ventures focused on positive parenting by fathers

Featured image: Christina @ via Unsplash 



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