Most attractive sectors for entrepreneurs in 2017

2016 was a tough year for many South Africans – and small businesses took a hard knock as the local economy experienced many challenges to overcome. Despite this testing environment, there are certain sectors that are ripe with opportunity for astute entrepreneurs to capitalise on in 2017.

In addition to the sectors that traditionally perform well in South Africa, such as tourism, there are definite opportunities being identified in other, less traditional sectors which show ample entrepreneurial potential. These include:


Currently, there is a lot happening in the telecoms sector, with the expanding national rollout of fibre driven by the growing uptake of bandwidth-intensive applications. This has opened up a host of opportunities, ranging from the implementation of cables to technical support services. As bandwidth speeds increase, we’re seeing the integration of technology, communication and entertainment to form a whole new industry that has really taken off in South Africa and represents a major growth sector.

Private education

Internationally, statistics show that around 10% of all schools are privately run. As there are about 26 000 schools across South Africa, and only around 1 600 of those are private, there is currently a market capacity for about 1 000 private schools to be opened in the next few years.

Locally the demand for private education is on the rise, and there is an increase in the number of entrepreneurs moving into this space. In addition to being an area that exhibits great potential for profitability, the education sector is also attractive in terms of its social and economic factors. South Africa has a major skills shortage which can only be effectively tackled by the increased accessibility of quality education.


2017 will likely see some recovery in the struggling mining sector. At the end of 2016, there was already some indication that the mining sector was making a comeback, as commodity prices stabilised and, in some instances, even increased.


It is predicted that there will be more rainfall in the coming summer season which will be welcomed by the agricultural sector, having suffered some of the most severe drought conditions ever in 2016. This expected break in the drought will not only benefit farmers directly as they resume their operations, but also those in the supply chain supporting the sector,  such as packaging or logistical suppliers, who can also expect an uptick in business operations.

How can entrepreneurs capitalise on the new year’s opportunities and make their entrepreneurial dreams a reality in 2017?

  1. Remain positive and avoid getting despondent. Don’t allow your dream to go wasted because of challenging factors.
  2. Seek guidance from seasoned entrepreneurs who have already made their way around the block to avoid repeating their mistakes.
  3. Do your due diligence, but don’t wait around for someone else to make the first move – business conditions will likely get tougher as the industry becomes more crowded.

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