20 Small Business Ideas & Investment Opportunities in South Africa for 2023

South Africa is one of the most developed economies in the world at current times with a GDP of 1.6% on a 5 years scale measure. This is the compounded annual growth of the nation for last five years and in the last financial year, the growth was 1.3%.

The economy is having a population of 60 million or a little less than that which provides a huge customer base for the businesses to grow. Due to the global pandemic, the growth has declined, but the overall prospect of the economy still holds opportunities for the new entrepreneurs as well as for the old players in the country.

In this article, we have crafted 20 profitable businesses that you can start, run and grow in South Africa

1. Start a Financial Services Using Technology

Technology has hit the financial market a lot in the recent past with all the crypto-currencies, e-payment, e-banking facilities etc. This market holds a lot of opportunities in the terms of a broad customer base, commission etc. If you are looking for investing in the financial sector, you can start with both online and offline services for financial products, insurance or any other kind of financial advisory system with the help of technology.

You can start or build up an application or a website where the people can find a different solution for the financial requirements like loans, insurance, investment etc.

2. Start a Handcraft Business

Handicrafts or handicrafts are popular in South Africa and also popular amongst the travelers or the visitors in the country. The business requires very less amount of capital but lots of creativity and if you have that creativity in you, and you have knowledge of the handicrafts products, then you can easily start up a business where you can make different products of handicrafts and sell in the open market.

You can also expand your business in two other ways that are by teaching other people how to make handicrafts as well as selling the products on an online platform to the other nations as well.

3. Start a Health Care Services through Digital Platform

Healthcare is necessary for any country and so in South Africa, the question arises in today’s time, when everything has been so digitalized, why not healthcare. But this mentality has been changed a lot by many popular online platforms which provide healthcare advice and knowledge about health issues etc.

But if you are looking for making an investment in this service, then you have to provide some proper services for which you can charge money to earn a profit. You can provide on-demand ambulance facility, on-demand doctor’s advice on your website and similar services to monetise the site and make money.

4. Start a Retail Business

The retail business in South Africa is really a big opportunity for the new entrepreneur as the market is huge for the retail goods. Some of the biggest retailers in the country make a turnover of US$ 13000-14000 in a year, so you can gauge the market prospect from this numbers. It is not that you will start making this figure from the beginning, but the investment will be worthy because of the demand for the retail goods in the market.

5. Provide Television Services

The Television industry or the media industry is rapidly growing in the country of South Africa, thereby opening up various avenues for the newcomers in the industry. If you want to invest in the television industry and you have the knowledge of producing films, series and other media, you can start investing a small amount and then with the measure of the earning and growth, you can increase the investment.

But you need to have an eye for the proper shows, artists, and the market demands.

6. Mobile Vehicle Wash Business

South Africa is a country with full of nature, forest and places with a scenic beauty which attracts many travelers across the globe. Most of them hire cars and travel around and most probable thing is that they don’t exactly know where the servicing centers are located and if the cars or the vehicles broke down in the middle of the road, they get into big trouble.

If you are from the country itself and looking to invest in the automobile sector, Mobile car wash service can be a great idea for your business. You can take the help of the technology and with an application, the travellers can contact you and then you can reach the place where their car has broken down and service it.

7. Renewable Energy Market

SAREC – The South African Renewable Energy Council is enhancing the renewable energies and making the market for it and it is seeking to make it one of the most important sources of energy by 2022. Since the non-renewable energies are on the verge of completion, the renewable energies are needed to run the world and so in South Africa.

If you have knowledge of the market, you can start investing in the projects of the government as well as in the private sector projects of the renewable energies generation and supply.

8. Waste Management

Waste Management is a general problem in the country so there is a continuous demand for the companies that provide waste management facilities. The business requires a little amount of capital to set in and the revenue generation can be quick if you have the right contacts.

Moreover, this is a recurring business that is once you make a customer happy that customer will call you at regular intervals whenever they require the waste management services.

9. Fashion and Lifestyle Market

The South African fashion industry is booming over the time. If you have a great taste in fashion and lifestyle products knowledge, then you can set up a company selling clothes and lifestyle products that are from beauty products to the custom jewellery and many other things under one roof.

The business holds a good growth prospect with the right consumer base and the investment in the initial period is little big though but the revenue generation can be huge if you have an eye for the best products in the market.

10. Consultation for Relocation

People are relocating to different countries, cities and there are many who relocates in and from outside South Africa for various purposes. If you have knowledge of the real estate market or you have contacts with the builders and the promoters in the market, you can provide consultation to the people who relocate and search for properties.

You can earn in both ways from this business that is in the form of consultation fees from your customers and from the clients of yours for whom or whose properties you sell or put on rent, they can pay you a commission for the service.

11. Real Estate

As mentioned in the last point, there are lots of people who are shifting from one place to another in the country providing a base for the real estate growth. If you are looking for directly investing in the real estate market then you can invest as a financier in the building projects and when the property is built and sold to the owners, you can take the money back with interest.

12. Refurbishing of Furniture

The furniture market is well developed in South Africa. It accounts for a two percent share of furniture consumption in the world which is just after the percentage of Asian countries. This states that that market has huge demands for the furniture and the good news is the demand is mostly for the locally made furniture (60% of the market share).

You can start trading and even manufacturing the furniture for home as well as commercial establishments. The initial capital requirement is little more because of the raw materials and the charges of the carpenters, but going ahead given the demand and if you can build a good market for yourself, the revenue can be huge as well.

13. Investment in Start-ups

If you have money to invest but you cannot find a good idea or the market in which you have knowledge is already saturated, you can directly put the money in a different start-up owned by either your close people or friends or anyone who has a great idea which holds the potential to reap money in the future. Going forward, you can turn your investment into equity shares and gain a percentage of profit from the company.

If investing in a start-up seems too risky of an investment opportunity for you, consider investing in franchise businesses. These business opportunities can be found at franchise-opportunities.co.za and offer an excellent opportunity for anyone looking for a low-risk business investment as franchises come with established brand names, a large customer base, and an exclusive territory to operate in your preferred franchise location making them the ideal investment as a low-risk business investment.

14. Service Provider for Expatriate in the Local Areas

Since, the relocation of people is in good number in South African cities, the need for different services is there for the Expatriate community as well. As the non-native people are unknown to many things in the city or in the country as a whole, you can set up an online community and provide personalized services to them against certain charges. For example, arranging electrician, plumbers, etc. Then find the best doctors or the consultants in town and similar services.

15. Grocery and Food Delivery Services

Both the native and non-native people in South Africa need groceries and food on day to day basis and that is known to everybody, isn’t it? But in the era of online shopping and food delivery, people mostly want to have a site from where they can order all their homely items that are all the groceries and food and raw food items as well.

You have to set up a warehouse where you can store the groceries, a website for receiving the orders and contacts with the nearby restaurants for the readymade food and few delivery agents to completely set up your business.

16. Food Delivery for Plant Workers

Home cook food is everyone’s favorite and when someone is away from home, and then it becomes tastier and important for them. The factory or the industrial workers travel and reside in the plant only for months and work there. You can start a food delivery business in which you can cook food in the home for the plant workers and deliver the food by yourself or by the delivery.

The initial cost to set up the business is not huge provided you have your own vehicle and space to cook. The turnover can be really good if you can get in touch with some of the big industries where every day there is a requirement for food.

17. Placement Agencies

You can open a placement consultancy firm to provide jobs to the graduates in the country or in the city you are residing. You need to have contacts with the big business firms and you can screen the candidates for them and then shortlist the candidates and send them for the final round of interview. The earnings will come in the form of commission or consultancy charges.

18. Security services for IP and Patents

The online security or the cybersecurity has become a concern for each of the person nowadays. With all the businesses going online for making a greater reach, it is important to have a strong security regime. You can set up a security service agency for protecting the IPs and the patents of the business concerns if you have great knowledge in the domain.

19. Transportation in the Urban Areas

If you have a vehicle or you want to invest in the transportation sector, you can start with the small vehicle in which you can provide transportation services to the office goers in a pool car system. The charges if kept nominal, the passengers will get attracted and you can grow your business accordingly. You can also provide transportation services for the travelers.

20. Media and Newspaper Services for Expats

The country and its cities have already a lot of media and newspaper services which mainly focuses on the local and national news. But there is a big community of the Expatriates in SA.

Given, this fact, you can start a newspaper business which will focus the issues all over the world and to make it popular for the Expats, you can sell it in a discounted rate than the normal newspapers and going by the demand if it increases you can increase the price.


1.What kind of business should I start?

The type of business you start will depend on your personal interests and the investment you are willing to make. Some of the most popular small business ideas include online stores, food delivery, ride-sharing services, mobile app development, and freelancing.

2.How do I market my small business?

Marketing strategies for small business owners should focus on maximizing customer outreach. This can include creating a website, utilizing social media, optimizing search engine results, and establishing partnerships with other businesses and influencers.

3.How do I get the funding for my small business?

There are several ways to fund a small business, such as bank loans, venture capital, crowdfunding, and SBA loans. Some small businesses may also be eligible for grants or other sources of funding.

4.What are some of the most popular small business ideas?

Some popular small business ideas include online stores, food delivery services, ride-sharing services, mobile app development, and freelancing.

5.What is the best way to find customers for my small business?

Small businesses can build relationships with customers through developing an effective marketing strategy, such as creating a website, utilizing social media, optimizing search engine results, and establishing partnerships with other businesses and influencers.

6.What type of investment opportunities are available for small business owners?

Investment opportunities for small business owners include angel investors, venture capital funds, crowdfunding platforms, and bank loans.

7.How much money do I need to start a small business?

The amount of money you need to start a small business will depend on the type of business and the amount of investment you are willing to make. Some businesses may require as little as $500 while others may require tens of thousands of dollars.

8.What type of insurance do I need for my small business?

.The type of insurance you need for your small business will depend on the type of business and the risks associated with it. Common types of insurance for small businesses include business interruption, general liability, and workers’ compensation.

9.How do I know if my small business is successful?

The success of a small business can be gauged by metrics such as sales revenue, customer feedback, market share, and customer retention. Regularly assessing these metrics can help business owners get an idea of how their business is doing.

10.What kind of support do I need for my small business?

In addition to financial and marketing initiatives, small business owners may also need support in hiring and managing staff, developing a business plan, and arranging for legal and accounting services.

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