South Africa is a country blessed with an abundance of natural resources and yet has wide disparities of wealth with implications for its broader socio-political environment. Small businesses in South Africa absorb over 50% of the people employed in the private sector and these contribute about 42% of the country’s GDP. There are approximately 3 million micro enterprises in the country. Given that entrepreneurship is globally recognised as a vital source of employment which contributes to economic growth and industrialization, increases the tax base of a nation and goes a long way to improving living standards, a key objective of the government is to create an enabling environment for small enterprises. It also wishes to strengthen cohesion between small enterprises and stimulate sector-focused growth whilst preparing small business to face the challenges of a globally competitive economy. The core of this paper is an attempt to answer four important questions: Are entrepreneurs trained to identify gaps in markets or are they born entrepreneurs and if they are able to be trained do they have support networks through which knowledge and necessary skills can be passed down to them? Which environmental forces motivate entrepreneurial thinking and what can we learn from the Singaporean experience in terms of strengthening entrepreneurship? What is the current institutional and governmental support framework for SMMEs like in South Africa? Why do some entrepreneurs succeed while others fail and how would support networks help ? Answering these questions will hopefully contribute to a greater understanding of the economic and social importance of entrepreneurship in South Africa and will throw light on the opportunities that exist in South African to make a strategic contribution to the furtherance of entrepreneurial awareness and training initiatives.
Rosane Cavalcante Fragoso, Brasil
Chief Scientific Officer and Head of a Research Group