Designing a policy and strategy framework for black, women-owned small and medium businesses in Johannesburg and Pretoria cities, Gauteng Province
Mathibe, Mercy N.
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There have been numerous challenges impeding efforts of black women in establishing, growing and sustaining their small and medium businesses in South Africa. This sector is male dominated and yet, females, especially black women, are predominant in the South African economic active population. If meaningful success is to be achieved, it is imperative for both public and private sectors to formulate and implement sustainable policies and strategies to stimulate, grow and sustain black women businesses. Black women were the focus of this study because of their historic marginalisation, economically. In this study, the insights of black female entrepreneurs hopefully provided an understanding of the challenges facing black women establishing and developing SMEs in different sectors in the South African economy The aim of the study was to design a policy and strategy framework for black, women-owned small and medium businesses in Johannesburg and Pretoria cities, Gauteng Province. This would be achieved through identifying the obstacles faced by small and medium businesses owned by black women, and using recommendations provided by these women to design such a policy and strategy framework. An exploratory research design and a qualitative approach to data collection were utilised to collect and analyse primary data for the study. Purposive non-probability sampling was used to identify eight black female SME entrepreneurs. The sampled black female entrepreneurs were contacted and asked to participate in the research study. Initially the sample was supposed to be drawn directly from the DTI’s various women business development and support programmes. However due to challenges experienced to schedule the actual interviews, the snowballing sampling method introduced other black female entrepreneurs outside of the DTI programmes. Interviews with semi-structured questions were conducted with each of the entrepreneurs to collect the primary data. The focus of the interviews was to review the challenges faced by black women-owned SMEs, determine the current government policies and strategies addressing the SMEs’ challenges, and suggest ways of revising or improving the policies and strategies to promote black women-owned SMEs. It was found that the micro challenges include: lack of finance, insufficient education and experience, lack of customer satisfaction, female gender roles, lack of marketing, lack of compliance with legislation, and lack of focus, while the macro challenges include: gender prejudices, limited access to finance, bureaucratic processes, execution failure, corruption and nepotism, delays in payments, difficult registration process, lack of infrastructure, lack of networking, and high competition. The existing government policies and strategies to address the challenges that black women-owned SMEs contend with were as follows: BBBEE, SEDA, SEFA, B'avumile Skills Development Initiative, GWE Unit, and Gauteng Economic Propeller. However, the findings revealed that most participants were not aware of the nature of the support provided by the policies and strategies of the identified programmes.