Exploring networking between women entrepreneurs in the business environment in South Africa
In today’s post-modern age, the role of women entrepreneurs in the development of a nation’s economy is unavoidable and women are willing to take action in business and contribute to the growth of the nation. The birth of a growing community of women entrepreneurs has been referred to as one of the most potential human resources in the 21st century that contributes towards global economic and social development. Most female entrepreneurs in South Africa are experiencing growth and development challenges due to inadequate formal entrepreneurial networks among women. The purpose of this study was to explore networking between women entrepreneurs in the business environment in South Africa. A qualitative research approach framed within an interpretive paradigm and an exploratory research design was adopted for the study. A sample of eight participants were purposefully selected to participate in the study. Data was collected through document analysis and semi-structured face-to-face interviews, and then qualitatively analysed through coding and categorisation. This study revealed that formal networks are of great importance when it comes to assisting women entrepreneurs with financial, moral and other material supports. However, most women entrepreneurs in South Africa are not aware of such networks, hence they are finding in difficult in enhancing their business performance. The study recommended that the DTI should continue working and encouraging South African women entrepreneurs to join and actively participate in entrepreneurial networks. The study further recommended that policymakers should formalise networking at a national level as a supporting tool for women in business. The practical implication for the study was on building relationships for networking, as it is an excellent link for opening doors for business opportunities, growth and running a successful business.