20 Business Ideas To Start In South Africa

What are the best small business opportunities in South Africa today?

Africa has got some of the best business ideas in South Africa, and this country was ranked by the World Bank as an upper-middle-income economy. Not only that, but she also has a nice position on the Ease of Doing Business Rank.

South Africa remains the largest economy in the African continent, except for a brief period in 2015 when it went behind Nigeria in terms of the size of GDP.

With a population of over 53 million people, South Africa is a growing middle-income class society, with her nationals having increasing amounts of cash to spend as disposable income.

20 Profitable Business Ideas To Start In South Africa

Business opportunities exist in South Africa as a result of her human and natural endowments, as well as her strategic position as gateways to different parts of the world, through which international shipping and trade occur.

Here are some solid opportunities to invest in.

For the savvy investor, the following are business ideas and opportunities that can be exploited in South Africa: 

1. Real Estate

With a booming economy and with many of her nationals crossing over into the middle-income class bracket, South Africa has seen demand grow over the years, for affordable housing infrastructure and construction.

The savvy business investor can, depending on startup capital and level of expertise, decide to either start with low-cost land and housing units or engage in the procurement of large expanses of land for major constructions for both private and corporate clients.

2. Continental Restaurants

South Africa is home to a diverse population mix that includes expatriates and other nationals; many of whom are visiting as tourists. There is, therefore, a concurrent demand for the provision of food and meals that can cater to the tastes and likes of these different peoples.

The savvy investor can set up a restaurant and gourmet service, with the right staff and structure to provide a wide variety of international cuisines, in an amicable atmosphere and make handsome returns while at it.

3. Tourism

South Africa boasts of captivating scenery, as well as possessing one of the most diverse and extensive fauna and flora species in the world. Additionally, the climate in South Africa makes it appealing and conducive for visits to beaches and waterfalls. As a result of these endowments, South

Africa plays hosts to hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.

This influx of people also means that associated business activities like shopping, financial transactions, and transfers as well as other related activities take place at increasing levels.

The savvy investor can set up businesses such as tourist resorts and spas, travel and holiday consultancy services and other related services, to cater to the needs of tourists and visitors that come to holiday. 

4. Freelance Writing

Clients from the Western World are on the look-out for freelance writers from other parts of the globe. South Africa readily emerges as the first port of call in Africa, as her citizens are deemed to be native English language speakers, as a result of her past ties to the United Kingdom.

The savvy investor, who is gifted with good speaking and writing ability, can set up a freelancing service consultancy, to handle this demand from abroad. The entrepreneur can set-up a team of proven and gifted writers to handle a wide variety of writing tasks and assignments such as article writing, feature stories, short stories as well as other valuable content, at a good charge.

5. Clothing and Textiles

South African textiles and clothing are made from the highest grade of cotton and are in demand from across the world. The savvy investor can tap into this opportunity by acting as a sourcing agent for these materials and serving both the local and international markets.

6. Agriculture

South Africa possesses a climate that supports the growth of several crops and fruits. Areas for possible investment include the rearing of animals and crops, as well as the cultivation of apples, grapes, and other fruits that are used in the production of wines and other drinks.

Depending on the availability of capital, the entrepreneur can decide to cultivate a small expanse of land and increase capacity as the business grows.

7. Daycare Center

South Africa is witnessing a steady increase in the number of people whose earnings place them in the middle-income class. These individuals, especially working mums need people who will take care of their kids while they are at work. The savvy investors can either set-up a daycare facility to cater to this need, especially on a large scale.

On the other hand, the entrepreneur could start small and reach agreements with individual clients, whereby the care-giver goes to the homes of the customers to take care of their young ones.

8. E-commerce Platform

Many South Africans are embracing the culture of making purchases online for goods and services. This is as a result of improved financial transactions that are safe and secure.

The savvy investor can tap into this opportunity by creating an e-commerce trading platform for the consummation of transactions involving goods and services while earning handsome commissions and charges for facilitating the process.for

South Africa is an organized country where new investors can invest in different types of successful small businesses for beginners and expect a nice reward.

And if you need ideas in regards to which top unique business and their peculiar challenges, here is a list of ideas for starting a business in SA.



Many people consume vegetables and meat daily. We all know that vegetables are very healthy for the body and that meats are a good source of protein. Nevertheless, to avoid food poisoning, many are always careful about where they get their meat and vegetables.

Here is how you can start your big retail or franchise business opportunity.

Start a small food delivery and distribution business that supplies and brings meat and vegetables to people’s doorsteps. Note, you need to work hard towards being reliable, so people can trust that the foods you are bringing to them aren’t hazardous to their health.


Many South Africans are already aware of several easy internet businesses that work. You can draw their attention and turn them into an audience and make lots of money from this great business idea. You can begin running an online magazine that offers unique content they won’t easily get elsewhere.

To set up this low-cost online business opportunity, simply choose a niche you are good at and begin writing interesting topics on them. When you have your audience, you make money from subscriptions and advertisements placed on your website.


Many organizations have benefited immensely from this in many countries. You can look into it in South Africa as a foreigner too. Go out with a good camera (or hire a photographer) and take pictures of beautiful sights and scenes and people and get them branded- then sell them on the internet for good money.


South Africa is a tourist center for tourists from different parts of the world. Many tourists haven’t been to the country before and will be glad if there is a trusted person that can pick them from the airport and take them around.

You can make cool money with this.

The internet is a good medium to make tourists know you offer these types of services, right there in their own countries. Give them the chance to book the service on the internet while they are yet to board the plane to South Africa. This is a nice tourism business you can set up to make serious money from.


The fact is, business people always have to need to purchase tickets. It might be a bus ticket, it might be an airline ticket, it might even be a movie ticket- people need tickets for different services. You can, online or offline, focus on selling those needed tickets to people and even turn this simple business into a partnership.


Of course, some will regard waste management as a ‘dirty business’. Nevertheless, waste management is a new profitable business that gives investors the chance to make big money. This good business involves processes of government registration especially to get small business loans and funding for your start-up business.


The clothing and textile industry in the country is a very lucrative business idea for women.

The demand for South Africa-made clothing and textile products is high in the country and neighboring countries. This is one of the booming women business opportunities in SA right now.


In South Africa, the demand for land and houses by individuals and businesses is rising. Therefore, as in many other countries, the property business is one very lucrative business opportunity in the country.

Another thing we can say about this industry that made it peculiar is the fact that you have everything needed to start somewhere with a little capital.


If you have the skill of writing, you can use it to generate one of the most successful available home businesses in South Africa today.

Yes, the internet has given you this cool home-based opportunity. Many individuals and work-from-home businesses in America and Europe need freelance writers from other countries (to cut costs).

Once they know you are writing from South Africa, you already have an advantage over many others in this low capital high return business for youth and stay at home moms.

Why because, South Africa often tops the list of their preferred countries because the country is usually regarded as a native English-speaking country.


The country is one of Africa’s largest markets for such imported technology products as PCs and smartphones and tablet computers.

Those devices are in huge demand in South Africa and new business investors can surely make lots of money by selling the latest products by global brands (you know, the likes of Apple, the likes of Samsung and Sony, and the rest)

This is one of the most viable import business ideas in South Africa for the men, women, working-class, unemployed youth, and the retired.

There are numerous opportunities in school transport, restaurant, construction, cleaning, consulting, gym businesses in SA.