Business planning and entrepreneurial education: key drivers for SME performance in South Africa’s Gauteng Province

Marecha, Trustlord
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The answer to South Africa’s unemployment, poverty, and inequality lies in the success of Small and Medium Enterprises. It is thus of the utmost importance that inhibiters of SME growth are studied to be able to chart a high-growth trajectory. The objective of the study is to investigate the perceptions of Gauteng-based entrepreneurs on the contribution of business planning and entrepreneurial education to SME performance. The findings form a basis for necessary remedial actions. The study investigated business planning capabilities and entrepreneurial education as antecedents to exploitation of diverse utilitarian resources which create unique organisational competitive advantages. The study chose financial performance and employment growth as key indicators for firm performance. It used a quantitative method which adopted an exploratory approach. Primary data was collected from a final sample of 268 entrepreneurs through a selfadministered questionnaire. What emerged from the data was a significant but weak impact between business planning and firm success. The impact of entrepreneurial education on firm performance was not supported and insignificant. According to the study results, more practice in business planning will lead to increased firm performance, even in the absence of entrepreneurial education. The entrepreneurs paid more attention to financial performance than to growing employee numbers, attesting the SME survival orientation. The absence of entrepreneurial education and presence of weak business planning retard the much-needed economic growth. This study contextualises a framework of the interconnectedness of business planning, entrepreneurial education, and firm performance. The value that budding entrepreneurs can draw from this study is that strong business planning capabilities precede entrepreneurial performance. The government should entrench entrepreneurial culture through legislating entrepreneurial education at all levels of education, including SME support programmes.
A research report submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Management in Entrepreneurship and New Venture Creation to the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management, School of Business, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2020