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Factors affecting the growth of locally owned spaza shops in selected townships in South Africa
The ANC government relaxed a great many restrictions enforced by the apartheid regime. The restrictions included the illegal status of the spaza shops which operated in the townships. Faced with the challenge of unemployment, the present government crafted policies and programmes to support and promote the creation of Small, Medium and Micro-sized Enterprises or SMMEs. However, despite all of these initiatives, the small grocery shops which are commonly known as spaza shops, and particularly those owned by South Africans, are faced with a number of obstacles with respect to the establishment, operation and growth. This study was undertaken in order to determine the factors which affect the startup and growth of locally owned spaza shops in the Gugulethu and Nyanga townships in Cape Town, and to identify the support strategies necessary to assist these shops to grow into sustainable businesses. The study was motivated by the growing informal economy which, if it is effectively taken advantage of and made use of, can, to some extent, create employment opportunities, particularly for the previously disadvantaged people in both the Gugulethu and the Nyanga townships. The study employed an exploratory and descriptive research design, and a quantitative empirical research approach, through the use of a self-administered questionnaire. The findings of the research study revealed that there are significant challenges which adversely affect South African-owned spaza shops, and that obstacles are encountered during the startup and growth phases. Although the factors which affect the spaza shops adversely are many, it is important to single out the most significant ones. The significant factors evidence from the study were a lack of startup and expansion capital, load shedding, the lack of a network to buy cheaply in bulk, competition from non-South African entrepreneurs, crime, costs incurred by transportation of stock, a lack of collateral security to obtain finance from lenders, inadequate ability to handle financial records, a lack of management skills and a lack of information concerning government services.
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