Economic Empowerment and Livelihood
Women Entrepreneurship in South Africa: Understanding the Role of Competencies in Business Success
Environmental factors alone cannot determine the success of small, medium and micro-sized enterprises (SMMEs) and female entrepreneurs; there is a need to closely examine the internal factors that also contribute to business success. This is necessary because, despite the considerable government support and support of bodies interested in promoting gender equality in all areas (business included), 20% of female-owned businesses still fail annually. Consequently, even though, according to a report from the Department of Trade and Industry in South Africa, millions of Rands have been allocated to support femaleowned SMMEs by way of government funding, training, grants and consultative support services, the failure rates of these female-owned businesses remain high. The main reason for this can be that over-dependence on these incentives often weakens rather than strengthens female entrepreneurs’ ability to manage their businesses and reduces their competitiveness by laying emphasis on external, contextual factors rather than internal, competence variables for success. Researchers in the past have suggested that focusing on the internal factors, especially the ‘people issues’ facing the entrepreneurs (in this case female entrepreneurs), may give the business a better chance of success.
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