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Top Small Business Ideas in South Africa


South Africa is undoubtedly one of the best countries in Africa to run a business, and there are numerous small business ideas in South Africa that you can get started with. The country has so many fantastic business opportunities, which is why foreigners love establishing their businesses there or investing in already existing companies. 

However, the foreigners are not the only ones that recognise the numerous opportunities in South Africa; residents also have so many successful businesses in every region of the country. So if you live in South Africa and wish to start your own business, then it will be one of the best decisions you have ever made. 

When it comes to running a business, it takes a lot more than just getting new small business ideas in South Africa; you need to be determined to sustain your business until it becomes successful. There are so many small business ideas in South Africa, and whatever you decide to venture into, you will make profits as long as you are good at what you do.

so this guide discusses small business ideas in South Africa that can make you financially buoyant in a short time.

Foodstuff Business 

The foodstuff business is one of the most lucrative small business ideas in South Africa. This is because South Africa has numerous markets for food items in different regions across the country, and many entrepreneurs are already involved in this raw food business. 

Foodstuffs are substances or items suitable for human consumption. Nobody can live without food, so once you choose the type of foodstuff you want to sell, you will be sure to make good profits. Also, everyone buys foodstuff to prepare delicious meals for consumption daily. So if you are ready to start this business, you could buy directly from the farmers or wholesalers.  

Creative Arts Business 

Creative arts business is one of the fast-selling small business ideas in South Africa. If you are passionate about painting people, then you need to go for training or learn the art of making beautiful portraits. 

These days getting a good portrait is quite expensive, and it is now a trend to gift people portraits for birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, etc., so you can see that so much money can be made from painting people.

However, this business is not all about painting people; you can paint anything you want, and as long as it sends a message to somebody, you will definitely make good sales. 

Shoe Making Business

Shoe-making is one of the small business ideas in South Africa that people do not recognise as a very productive business. However, any business that requires you to provide services or products people can not do without such business is always great and profitable. 

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People will need to wear shoes, from flats to heels, to slides and so on. So this business will always be on trend anywhere you go. 

If you are already skilled at making shoes in South Africa, you can start a shoe-making business immediately; however, if you are not skilled, you can learn the skill from experienced shoemakers. If you manage this business properly in a short time, you could own a big shoe brand that will be recognised even in international markets. 

Fruit Juice Production

When discussing small business ideas in South Africa, the businesses that are not overly saturated are always the best to consider. Fruit juice production is one of the top small business ideas in South Africa that people mostly overlook but can earn you a lot of money. 

Many people love natural drinks, and you could be the one to produce them if you are interested. You can get fresh fruits from farmers and make fresh juice like pineapple, orange, apple, etc. 

Ensure the juice you make is good for the health and is made with reduced additives. You can sell them with branded packages to make them look more attractive, so people will easily recognise your brand as time passes.

Job Recruitment

As a job recruiter, you search for job openings in different firms, companies or organisations and then find qualified people for those jobs. You are required to review their resumes and interview the applicants while focusing on skills that suit the current job openings and what the employer is looking for.

Then when you get suitable candidates, you link them up with their respective employers, and you will get paid a commission. This business is one of the best small business ideas in South Africa that requires small start-up capital. However, before going into the business, you should acquire good human resource skills, and you might also need a degree. 

Also read: TOP Small Business Ideas in Kenya

Language Translation

Language translation is one of the most needed small business ideas in South Africa because South Africa has 11 official languages. When people visit the country, especially for the first time and for business purposes, they will need someone to translate the languages so they can relate with others freely. 

If you can speak more than one South African language and are also fluent in English, then you are perfect for this business. You could also translate the languages for corporate organisations by helping them translate corporate letters, books, and documents.

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Pet Sitting Business

So many south Africans love keeping pets, which is why a pet sitting business is also one of the excellent small business ideas in South Africa. This business requires you to take care of pets while their owners are away or when they need some assistance. 

To start this business, you need to be pet friendly and study how certain pets behave and how best to care for them. For example, some people might require you to walk their pets at a particular time every day, take them to the vet, bathe them and so on. 

Agriculture Business

Agriculture is one of the most lucrative small business ideas in South Africa. Currently, South Africa has a vast market-oriented agricultural economy, which includes producing all kinds of food products such as vegetables, fruits, tubers, grains etc.

Many people in South Africa today earn a living through farming, and they are doing very well because apart from imported food products, they are the only other source of food for the country. So you see, if you go into this business, you will definitely enjoy high profits. 

Agriculture is very broad, and you have numerous options to choose from. You also have the freedom of choosing multiple options like intensive farming, crop rotation, shifting agriculture, terrace cultivation, plantation agriculture, mixed and multiple agriculture,  etc.

Travel Business

This is one of the best small business ideas in South Africa because South Africa is a beautiful place to live in and visit; it has many tourist sites and many places you can go to have fun or relax. 

If you are familiar with every state in South Africa, you could help people plan trips for a honeymoon, get-together, birthday hang out, engagement party, etc. Sometimes people just love to visit new places, have fun or relax and they need someone to show them the best places to archive their aim. 


This is one of the small business ideas in South Africa that requires high creativity and good photography skills. However, it is very lucrative and profitable if you are good at it. All you need to do is get a high-quality camera and take good pictures of people for birthdays, weddings, get together and so on, and then you get paid. 

You can go to events with a decorative background for pictures, set up a photo studio, or do video recordings at weddings, birthdays, anniversaries and more for an agreed amount. 

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Photography is fun, and you will enjoy every part of it; apart from taking pictures of people, you can take photos of anything that is beautiful and can put a smile on someone’s face. It would also be best to learn how to edit photos and videos while learning photography so you can deliver the best quality pictures and videos to your clients. 

Music Coaching

Different countries of the world have their unique cultures and values, but music is one thing that is common to them all as music brings people together in joy and love.

People will always love music and want to learn it, so if you have a good musical knowledge and a passion for music, you can start coaching people on how to sing and play musical instruments.

Business Consultation

When people are ready to start a business, they usually require the help of a business consultant to help them plan their resources and aid them through establishing their business.

If you start up a business consultation company, you will be responsible for other companies, and that means you will always be needed, and your services will be in high demand across South Africa. Business consultation is one of the small business ideas in South Africa that is sure to stand the test of time and also has a high success rate. 

As a business consultant, you will be helping other people to successfully start their companies/businesses and continue providing professional advice on improving and maintaining the business’s operations. 

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Every one of these small business ideas in South Africa has risks, and this is the first thing you should know before starting any business. However, the risks that come with a business should not determine whether you will venture into the business or not because regardless of the risks a business has, people are already into it, and they are making profits from it.

So when considering a business from these small business ideas in South Africa, you should focus on other important considerations for starting a business, such as location, start-up capital, your skill and passion, etc. Also, when you eventually start the business, you should be determined to make it a success and give it your best in terms of dedication, focus, discipline and optimism.

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