Women entrepreneurship has become a subject of increasing interest, especially in the last decade, and literature in this field indicate that has a positive correlation with economic growth and employment levels. Yet, while there are a high number of women in the informal economy or owning micro and small businesses, the number of women entrepreneurs owning larger sized businesses is low. South Africa has a high unemployment rate of 25% and a female population of 52% most of whom are young, Black African and living in townships (Statistics SA, 2014). While there is a prevalence of business development support for technical aspects of enterprise creation, management and growth, this study explores the psychosocial elements of women entrepreneurship in the specific context of the township where resources are constrained; and to understand the extent and nature of support systems in place to deal with these challenges.
The research was conducted through qualitative semi-structured interviews with 40 women entrepreneurs and five small business support organisations in eight townships in Gauteng, Western Cape and Kwazulu-Natal provinces. The analysis was done through content and frequency analysis in order to understand the prioritisation and patterns of responses.
The research proves that for the first time, the psychosocial ecosystem for female entrepreneurs in townships has been recognised through the identification of the component parts of the ecosystem, and the barriers and enablers of each. A set of recommendations has been offered to both female entrepreneurs in townships and the service providers who support them of how they work within this ecosystem in order to maximise the growth of these businesses. A unique contributing component identified within the psychosocial ecosystem is the support provided by faith-based groups. The contextual layers of Gender, Entrepreneurship and the Township context have been found to have a bearing on psychosocial challenges identified by the women. The above findings of the study have culminated in the development of a unique psychosocial support ecosystem model for women entrepreneurs in townships.
Mini Dissertation (MBA)--University of Pretoria, 2015.