Morrison-Jones, Alan Roger
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South African townships are characterised by generally high levels of unemployment and poverty. Small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) are seen to be a fruitful source of jobs that generate income, which in turn relieve poverty. The purpose of this research was to obtain an understanding of the constraints facing micro enterprises in South African townships. It is envisaged that this understanding of the constraints facing the micro enterprises will assist government, business and other institutions to provide a favourable environment for SMMEs to operate in, and hence contribute to relieving unemployment and poverty. This research comprised case studies of six micro enterprises on the Vosloorus Industrial Estate, in the Vosloorus township. The micro enterprises selected ranged across a number of skill sets, including welders, auto mechanics, panel beaters and furniture makers. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with the micro enterprise owners. A semi-structured interview was also held with: Khula Enterprises, the owners of the industrial estate; Mr Nhlapo, the chairman of Gapipa (Gauteng Province Industrial Parks Association – refer to Section 2.6); and Patson Ngwevela, the councillor for the applicable ward in which the industrial estate is located. Several constraints to the growth of the micro enterprises were identified. Micro enterprises need to continuously adapt to environmental changes in order to survive and grow. In other words, the micro enterprises need to adapt their internal environments so that they are relevant to their external environment. As a result of this need, the key constraints identified were classified under the headings of external constraints, internal constraints and the constraints with the support structures. The key external constraints identified were the high levels of unemployment and poverty, and the competition from the backyard and street corner enterprises. The key internal constraints identified were the fact that the micro enterprises operated informally, the fact that the micro enterprise owner’s skills were unaccredited, and the fact that marketing was in essence passive. The key constraints identified with the support structures were the lack of awareness and the lack of trust in the support structures
Small businesses, Micro enterprises