Doing Business in South Africa

Business Tips, Cape Town Business Associations and Recommended Resources

In our ExpatCapeTown guide to Doing Business in South Africa, you will useful business tips and resources as well as listings of Cape Town business associations and South African business chambers and business organisations. This is where you can get specific information when setting up a business in South Africa or planning to invest in a local business.

South Africa Business Guide: 10 Essential Steps to Success

  1. Get some background info on Cape Town and South Africa
  2. Know the business travel regulations
  3. Read about local people, languages and cultures
  4. Learn about business etiquette and local customs
  5. Be informed about local and business news - see below
  6. Get in touch with local organisations for networking
  7. Contact your international business chamber for info
  8. Know about culture shock and how to deal with it
  9. Read all about living and working in South Africa
  10. Be positive and friendly and smile a lot - like the locals do

South African Business Associations

When doing business in South Africa, it is advisable to contact a business association to get relevant information about the local economic situation of your specific business sector and gain access to various networking events and training seminars and conferences. The below listed business associations help locals and foreigners with business related queries and give a variety of support services. Please enquire directly with the chambers and associations. Let's start with the listings of the national business associations in South Africa.

  • South African Chamber of Commerce (SACCI, formerly SACOB): largest SA business association with a membership base of 20.000 mostly small and medium-sized businesses and 80 large businesses
  • National Small Business Chamber (NSBC): This membership based organisation protects and promotes small businesses. Fee: Free/R1250 to benefit from all services on offer.
  • Businesswomen’s Association: Become a member in the biggest group for business women, professional women and entrepreneurs in South Africa and enjoy many benefits. Men are welcome to join too. Membership costs: R500 p.a.
  • Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) is a support group for small businesses with a fabulous website with loads of well structured info from writing a business plan in South Africa to BEE facts and fact sheets. 
  • VoicesClub is a support group for female entrepreneurs and business owners with an amazing community feel. Set up by British expat Shelley Webb, this is a great place to start connecting with like-minded females, locals and expats welcome to numerous monthly events.

Doing Business in South Africa: For international business associations in Cape Town, please read our info and tips here.

Cape Town Business Associations

  • Cape Town Regional Chamber of Commerce & Industry: provides information and support to its members. They organise business seminars and training and represent the more than 3 000 member companies. Two thirds of  the membership base are small, medium and micro enterprises with an annual turnover below R5 million. However, 14% of the member companies have an annual turnover above R50 million. The Chamber should be a first stop for business start-ups. An international desk offers business support to drive new business deals or assist with export matters. A commercial Dispute Settlement Centre helps members and non-members with arbitration and mediation. Annual subscription rates range depending on employee numbers between R2,000 and 13,000 for corporate companies with more than 151 employees.  
  • Wesgro: This organisation for destination marketing, investment and promotion provides a wide range of networking opportunities as well as web tools and resources for all looking for information on opening a import/export business or creating employment opportunities in the Western Cape. Businesses can register and find a variety support resources when doing business in South Africa. 
  • False Bay Business Network: This business network has its main focus in the promoting of business services and products in the False Bay area. Their members are invited to weekly Friday morning meetings in and around Fish Hoek. The members also engage in community activities such as beach clean-ups and participation at the Noordhoek fair. Membership and joining fees apply.
  • The Business Connection: This is a business referral group which meets regularly in the Westlake area. They have a small section of available positions on their site. 

Doing Business in South Africa: South Africa Business News

You can find local business reports and the latest business news in various South African newspapersCape Town newspapers and online. Here is a selection of useful reading on the topic of doing business in South Africa:

  • Department of Trade and Industry (DTI): This is the site to go for if you are looking for general information on business in South Africa, the South African economy, access statistical data and find export and investment guides. They also publish annually a useful guide, which is called 'South Africa: Investor's Handbook'.
  • Business Day: daily news online and as print version
  • Cape Times Business Report: daily section in the Cape Times, also available as subscription online
  • Western Cape Business News: daily online business news
  • Financial Mail (FM): weekly business publication
  • Sunday Times Business Times: Business section in the Sunday edition of the Sunday Times
  • Matchdeck: register with one of the biggest business search engines and get free daily or weekly alerts

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Living in South Africa - Expat Guide Book by Regina Graeff and Derryn Campbell

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