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. The authors use this distinction in their analysis of the data
and framing of the implications for business assistance strategy in SA.
Abstract based directly on the original source