Internationalisation of South African women-owned SMMEs: the role of human, social and financial capital

Dayile, Siyabulela Paschal
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The main thrust of this study was to investigate and explain the influence of human, social and financial capital on the internationalisation of SMMEs in South Africa in the context of women entrepreneurs. A cross-sectional quantitative study was employed on a sample of 135 women-owned SMMEs, by way of an online survey. This tested the association between social, human and financial capital, and the degree of internationalisation of women-owned SMMEs. This study revealed that women entrepreneurs in South Africa do not view international social ties and business networks, and financial capital availability as significant barriers to determining the degree of internationalisation. On the other hand, the study showed that women within this context believe that international education, knowledge and experience all play key roles in inducing the degree of internationalisation. The study suggests that the results may have deviated from widely accepted theories, due to emerging markets being different from developed economies, in which the majority of empirical studies have thus far been conducted. The findings strengthened the emerging, but sparsely researched second approach to the resource-based theory, which suggest that SMMEs internationalise to gain access to entrepreneurial capitals. The study further revealed that women entrepreneurs that had internationalised did so, through industries in which women are typically under-represented. Although not pervasive in literature, women entrepreneurs within South Africa were motivated to internationalise mainly due to external growth prospects and not by poor domestic demand.
A research report submitted to the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management, University of the Witwatersrand, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Management, specialising in Entrepreneurship and New Venture Creation Johannesburg, 2016
Dayile, Siyabulela Paschal (2016) Internationalisation of South African women-owned SMMEs : the role of human, social and financial capital, University of the Witwatersrand, <>