Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University
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Abstract Details

The Viability of Informal Microenterprise in South Africa
Vol. Volume 16 Number 1 March/2011

Douglas Woodward Robert Rolfe Andre Ligthelm Paulao Guimaraes
This paper analyzes entrepreneurs in South Africa informal sector. The aim is to determine the extent to which African informal retail trade spawns viable enterprises. To assess the prospects for South Africa's informal retail sector, we obtained questionnaires from owners of small-scale establishments in a random sample taken throughout the country in 2007. Owner's income and sales data provided a basis for investigating viability. Regression analysis test hypotheses identified as crucial to higher income and sales, including startup capital, size, male/female ownership, business training and the proximity to shopping centers. Also tested is the influence of urbanization externalities on sales and owner's income. Initial capital and positive urban externalities have strong influence on the ability to generate a sustainable livelihood for informal entrepreneurs. After controlling for startup capital, location and other factors, it appears women entrepreneurs face distinct difficulties in generating a viable income through informal retail trade.

Keywords: Informal sector, entrepreneurship, regional development, Africa