Diaspora Matters

Most popular small business ideas for women in Durban

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Our forum has made an impact in Durban where we have hundreds of followers and this is not surprising after our trainings last year that affected thousands of women in this KwaZulu Natal Region. The spirit of entrepreneurship is high in Durban, sisters there are hardworking and go getters. The best entrepreneurs for South Africa are likely to emerge from this region in the not so distant future.

Digital Marketing is still in infancy in Durban and we urge sisters there to embrace it and use it to their advantage. Attending a course on Digital Marketing is therefore a must if you would like to be successful as an entrepreneur. Digital marketing is an efficient way of reaching out to a broad market in an effective and efficient manner.The old way of marketing involves opening a shop and waiting for local clients to come in and buy goods or services. This limits the number of people you can reach out to  because if you open a shop  in Durban how will you reach out to clients in Johannesburg? How about Cape Town or East London?

Digital Marketing enables you to cover all four corners of South Africa, what is more? You can also reach out to clients across the world like what one of our trainees Bongiwe Xaba does. She makes traditional Zulu Attire and sells it to Europe! She gets clients through Facebook boosting and ships her material abroad. She takes advantage of the fact that the world loves South Africa and millions tourists visit South Africa every year. The interest in Heritage Day  by the international community opens markets for South African based entrepreneurs to make clothes or arts and crafts for sale to international customers in Europe, Asia, USA and Australia.

E-Commerce a must

A good number of sisters have embraced part digital marketing and advertise goods on popular Facebook Groups such as Durban Factories which has a membership of 350,000. Facebook and Whatsapp advertising has limitations though in the sense that you have to manually register members and follow up with them. This is an efficient way of marketing as many clients can be lost to rivals. Most people who visit  Social Media when they make a decision on buying a product, they often want to do so immediately. Therefore an entrepreneur must be organized and have a website where potential clients can view all the details they may need. The website must be a shop as well allowing people who have shown interest in buying to do so immediately!

We therefore urge our members and followers to be efficient when selling goods and services and upgrade from manually  placing Facebook Adverts and wait for responses.Open a website that is E-Commerce enabled and have a shop that runs 24 hours a day and  7 days a week. This is how you can increase your sales in Durban and everywhere else across the globe.

Popular Business Ideas in Durban

  1. Sisters in Durban want to look good and trendy clothes, shoes, handbags come top
  2. Hair products, related to the top one-its all about sisters looking great
  3. Kitchen ware is hugely popular especially Tupperware
  4. Herbal Medicine-(Forever living, Teaguard,Longrich, Esylife,Herbal life) products and Chinese made products are popular
  5. Perfume Making and Selling-emerging and fast business idea (Avon,
  6. Buying and selling jewellery (some are now making jewellery)
  7. ICT gadgets
  8. Household furniture
  9. Baking cakes for sale
  10. Arts and Crafts –Tapestry

This list is obviously long but we have chosen a few small business ideas that are making a mark in Durban and the whole of Kwazulu Natal. The sisters want to look good and enjoy a good life-therefore if you try and address this-you will never go wrong! They want their homes to look neat, tidy and trendy and will therefore invest in this area.

It was also interesting to find sisters traveling all the way from East London to  Durban inorder to buy clothes and  shoes for resale. Having traveled to most provinces in South Africa the conclusion that we have is that Durban (KZN) has more opportunities for entrepreneurs than most provinces in South Africa, the economy is better, the buying power also better than in most areas.

We however urge entrepreneurs to improve and diversify. Buying and selling business is elementary stuff. You should move on and tap onto opportunities presented by the tourist sector. Do set up travel agencies, build homes or hotels and take advantage of high tourist arrivals. Carry out more studies on this area and develop plans to tap into opportunities that exist and set up start up companies.

Room for New Business Ideas

Our train the trainer course in Durban

Do not be afraid to introduce new business ideas or concepts. Our forum introduced the disruptive technology on carpet making in Durban and the programme went viral with more than 20,000 people responding. We followed up the interest by training a champion group that cascaded trainings to thousands of women across the region. We followed up with the hybrid paw paw growing project which also showed that there is high interest in Agriculture by Durbanites. Our organization will therefore be bringing you more information on opportunities in the agriculture sector in the coming months. So the spirit of entrepreneurship in Durban is high and we experienced it, we compared it to the other regions and came to the conclusion that Durban is Number 1. Entrepreneurs need to carry out detailed studies before rushing investment decisions.

We urge caution on schemes such as Online Forex Trading-it is a legitimate money making venture but you can easily lose your money to fraudsters. Learn how to do online forex trading on your own and never give funds to anyone to trade on our behalf. The same applies to Bitcoin, do not lose money to people who claim they can invest money on your behalf. Therefore be vigilant, whilst opportunities are high, so are risks especially on Social Media-always view everyone you find there with 99% suspicion and be vigilant.


This post is covered in the upcoming book on investment opportunities for women in Southern Africa, do not miss the e-book which captures the inspirational stories of Women Entrepreneurs in South Africa which is coming out at the end of February 2018.

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Diaspora Matters

Must Read Report for Every African Entrepreneur



For African entrepreneurs, the future is technology driven! For progress we have to look ahead, study current and  future  political, economic, environmental,  social and  technological patterns. The world is changing at a very fast rate creating endless opportunities and risk at the same time. A case in mind is that of Facebook which did not exist in 2013 but is now worth $500 billion and its value is expected to keep rising! The future is therefore technologically driven and countries and citizens therefore need to regularly assess how they are faring when it comes to technology adoption and use.

If the majority of farmers in your country are still doing subsistence farming using manual labour and looking for markets physically then there is a big problem. If we are still relying on rainfall for agriculture then we are still behind and need to catch up fast. Some have already heard of Bitcoins or Crypto currencies-this is a new term and the majority of us are still confused of what exactly this Bitcoin is. Who controls is, how does it get value,who is the owner of it? Whilst wee are still confused, advanced nations are moving ahead with its adoption and use. So for every African Entrepreneur, the key to competitive advantage is through technology! Ensure that technology is a key part of your business. Find ways of automating a lot of your key activities for instance how do you reach out to customers? Do you wait for customers to come to your business and buy? Consider E-Commerce-it is veryfast and efficient, expands your reach beyond your geographical location and customers can buy goods or services 24 hours a day!  Or are you a Non Governmental Organization that carries out capacity building by holding conferences-hiring expensive hotels and inviting participants to come and learn under classroom conditions? Use technology to your advantage-conduct trainings through webinars, create a website where you file training material, create digital training material and send videos and audios, engage participants online and file training material for reference purposes. It is more efficient this way than the traditional model of classroom capacity building

So even when applying for grants from Western Donors, if you fail to include how you will use technology in your grant applications, then your chances of success are likely to be limited. A look at the Kwese Tv competition should show that the eventual winners will need to have included how they will use technology to advance their businesses.

Important Technology Skills for Entrepreneurs

  • Be curious-follow technological developments in your field
  • Join business forums where they talk of technology
  • Follow leading tech savvy business people like Strive Masiyiwa
  • Follow leading business forums such as ZBIN, we have a deliberate policy on technology adoption and use
  • Read Academic journals-there are a lot that can be found online
  • Your business strategy should be anchored on technology-constantly review operations
  • Benchmark your operations-if you operate a clothing store in Malawi then study how clothing stores in USA or UK are doing, how can you match their standards at less cost?

If technology is too expensive -worry not, prices will eventually go down and in some cases, disruptive technology maybe on the way.

Below we feature some of the key trends in technology and they should guide you in terms of business strategies. To remain manual is no longer a viable option for entrepreneurs! The information is coming from the Readiness for the Future of Production Report 2018 which is also attached for your download.

Asses how you country, Company, CEO,Pastor, Lecturer or local MP ranks in terms of knowledge of the trends below:


Artificial intelligence and robotics Development of machines that can substitute for humans, increasingly in tasks associated with thinking, multitasking and fine motor skills.
Ubiquitous linked sensors Also known as the “Internet of Things.” The use of networked sensors to remotely connect, track and manage products, systems and grids.
Virtual and augmented realities Next-step interfaces between humans and computers involving immersive environments, holographic readouts and digitally produced overlays for mixed-reality experiences.
Additive manufacturing Advances in additive manufacturing, using a widening range of materials and methods. Innovations include 3D bioprinting of organic tissues.
Blockchain and distributed ledger technology  Distributed ledger technology based on cryptographic systems that manage, verify and publicly record transaction data; the basis of “cryptocurrencies” such as bitcoin.
Advanced materials and nanomaterials Creation of new materials and nanostructures for the development of beneficial material properties, such as thermoelectric efficiency, shape retention and new functionality
Energy capture, storage and transmission Breakthroughs in battery and fuel cell efficiency; renewable energy through solar, wind, and tidal technologies; energy distribution through smart grid systems; wireless energy transfer; and more.
New computing technologies New architectures for computing hardware, such as quantum computing, biological computing or neural network processing, as well as innovative expansion of current computing technologies.
Biotechnologies Innovations in genetic engineering, sequencing and therapeutics, as well as biological computational interfaces and synthetic biology.
Geoengineering Technological intervention in planetary systems, typically to mitigate effects of climate change by removing carbon dioxide or managing solar radiation.
Neurotechnology Innovations such as smart drugs, neuroimaging and bioelectronic interfaces that allow for reading, communicating and influencing human brain activity.
Space technologies Developments allowing for greater access to and exploration of space, including microsatellites, advanced telescopes, reusable rockets and integrated rocket-jet engines.

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