Distinguishing economically from legally formal firms: Targeting business support to entrepreneurs in South Africa's townships
Although the government of South Africa (SA) has formally adopted a policy of proactive support of entrepreneurship, providing business assistance to all of its entrepreneurs is beyond SA's financial and human resource capabilities. This study utilizes the results of an in-depth survey of entrepreneurs in SA's townships to find: (1) The business and owner traits that predict revenues and job creation among the township entrepreneurs, (2) The key issues that challenge township entrepreneurs; and (3) What the answers to these issues imply about the appropriate content and recipients of business assistance to township entrepreneurs. A distinction is helpful in framing this study's approach. In SA, registered (licensed) businesses are legally formal firms. In contrast, economically formal firms have institutionalized processes that lead to success as a profit-making firm. We use this distinction in our analysis of the data and framing of the implications for business assistance strategy in SA. © 2007, International Council for Small Business.
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