9 Most Profitable Businesses in South Africa

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In this detailed article, we have listed some of the most profitable business in South Africa.

As you know, the business world is cut-throat, and around the globe, you will find businesses shutting their doors daily. However, that doesn’t mean it’s an impossible place to thrive in.

Many successful businesses are thriving in South Africa right now, meaning there must be some lucrative opportunities for the taking.

There are various business models you can adopt to suit your strengths and interests, and they all have pros and cons.

You must choose a business that excites you and gives you the best possible chance of success.

The profitability of any venture begins with research, so we’ve compiled a list of the most profitable businesses in South Africa today. Keep reading.

Helpful Content: 9 Best Business To Start in South Africa That Will Suit You Perfectly

Software Development

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The software development industry is projected to grow at a rate of 8% by 2023, making it another most profitable sector in South Africa.

This growth is because of the rise in demand for business intelligence, artificial intelligence, and internet of things technology.

Software engineers are being sought after by companies and start-ups alike in South Africa. This is one of the most profitable industries to get into if you want to make money in South Africa.

If this interests you, you can open your own software development company or become an independent contractor.

You will need to know one or more of these technologies and have a desire to help businesses grow by providing them with them. The best way to learn these skills is to start with online courses, books, and meet-ups with other developers. 

You will need to market your services and find clients as independent contractors. This might sound scary, but you can make this easier with a bit of creativity. 

Check This Out: How To Start Online Business From Home

Real Estate

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Real estate is profitable in almost all the countries in the world, including South Africa. If you’re interested in the sector, you can buy a house, commercial property, or land.

You can also get involved with real estate investing by purchasing stocks in real estate companies or funds that invest in real estate.

Real estate is a great business and investment because it can provide guaranteed returns, and it’s a solid asset that can increase in value over time.

It’s also an excellent option for people who don’t have a lot of money to invest because real estate doesn’t necessarily require a significant upfront investment.

If you’re interested in real estate investing, you can start by learning about different real estate types and the markets where they are most profitable.

The real estate industry is projected to grow at 7% by 2023. Other ways to get involved in this industry include becoming a property agent.

If you want to get started with real estate, you’ll need to be a licensed broker, have relevant experience, and have a business plan. You’ll also need a significant amount of start-up capital to purchase your first property and pay your employees.

Food and Beverage

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The food industry is among the most profitable industries in South Africa right now. It is predicted to grow at a rate of 5% by 2023, making it a very lucrative business to get involved in.

This growth is attributed to the increased purchasing power of consumers and the rise in health and wellness-related trends. The popularity of meal replacement diets and protein-heavy food trends are also contributing factors.

If this industry interests you, you can open a restaurant, catering service, or even a small drink or wine store. With any of these options, you’ll need to consider your start-up costs and your profit margin.

The food and beverage industry has a low barrier to entry, but you will need a relevant trade qualification and a business plan to get started. You can start a food truck, open a café, or start a catering business from home to generate income. 

The business model for these enterprises varies, but all of them require significant research and planning to get started. 

Additionally, anyone who wants to open a food business must obtain the necessary permits and licenses before beginning operations in some parts of south Africa.

You’ll also need a significant start-up capital to purchase inventory and pay your employees.


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The healthcare industry is another one of the most profitable industries in South Africa. This is because it has a high barrier to entry, making it difficult to break into the industry, and people are continually aging and requiring healthcare.

There are many ways to enter this industry, including opening a private hospital, a nursing home, or a healthcare clinic.

You can also become a medical equipment supplier or a pharmaceutical company. For example, you can open a pharmacy that sells prescription drugs.

To open a pharmacy, you must meet specific requirements and obtain a license from your state’s board of pharmacy. Mostly, you must have at least several years of experience in the field. 

Once you have your license, you can open a private pharmacy and start generating profits. As with any other business, it is recommended that you do thorough marketing research and choose a location with a high potential for success.

Online Educator and Trainer

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The education system is another business sector you can venture into and make money in South Africa. There are many online classes available out there, and you can earn a decent living by becoming an online tutor.

This is an excellent option if you love to teach but don’t necessarily want to work in a classroom setting. What you need to start this business venture is a computer and Internet connection. 

Once you have these essentials covered, you can search for sites offering remote tutoring jobs like udemy, teachable, upwork. Online tutoring is a cool way to make money from home. 

You have the flexibility to schedule your work around your own schedule. You can choose to tutor kids or adults. Depending on the site, you can set your hourly rate.

You can specialize in a particular subject or area of studies, such as philosophy, literature, science, or language. 

Additionally, you can also become an online teacher by providing advice and guidance to students via message boards and forums. There is high demand for online tutors and teachers, especially for those with a Master’s degree or Ph.D. 

You can start this business venture as a side hustle to generate additional income.



If you’re interested in manufacturing, you’re in luck. The manufacturing sector is said to grow at a rate of 6% by 2023, making it another option of the most profitable sectors in South Africa.

There are many different types of manufacturing businesses you can get involved in, including textile, chemical, and metal manufacturing.

If this industry interests you, you can choose to open a new business in this field or get involved in an existing business.

In order to open a new manufacturing business, you will need to invest money in equipment and machinery, hire employees, and obtain necessary licenses and permits. 

It is essential to research your industry and the market you want to serve to determine if there is enough demand to sustain your business. 

Once you have decided on a business concept, you will need to create a business plan to outline your future plans.


The import/export industry in South Africa is growing every day. This growth is attributed to a rise in the demand for business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce in emerging markets.

If you want to venture into the import/export industry in South Africa, then you will need a license from the Department of Trade and Industry. This license is required for both individuals and companies.

You will need to apply for the license and meet all the criteria before you can start importing and exporting in the country. You will also need to register your company with the Department of Trade and Industry.

The type of license you need will depend on the type of business you are trying to start.


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It’s no news that the e-commerce industry is booming and a very lucrative business right now, And why wouldn’t it be? E-Commerce is the future of shopping, and right now, we are in the early stages of it.

This means that the opportunities to make money in this industry are endless. There are so many ways to make money online through e-commerce. You can start a dropshipping business, become an affiliate for e-commerce sites, start your e-commerce store, and much more.

These are all trusted ways to make money online for anyone, regardless of your experience level. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. 

You can make money in this industry by starting your own e-commerce business from scratch or by sourcing products from overseas to sell on sites like the Facebook marketplace. 

It doesn’t matter what your experience level is because there are ways to make money online in this industry for anyone, making it one of the most profitable businesses in South Africa.

Travel and Tourism

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The travel and tourism industry is very lucrative right now, and there are so many ways you can make money in this industry.

You can start a travel agency or become an online travel agent.

This is a very lucrative industry with a global market share of over $10 billion, which doesn’t include the domestic market.

The travel and tourism industry is growing, especially in South Africa. The travel and tourism sector accounts for about 11% of South Africa’s GDP every year, so its no doubt that it’s profitable.

Conclusion most profitable business in South Africa


Choosing a business model is one of the first and most important steps toward starting a successful business.

You must choose a business that not only excites you but also gives you the best possible chance of success.

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