An analysis of the development of small and medium enterprises in Namibia (Khomas region)

Ipinge, Aune (2010-03)

Thesis (MBA (Business Management))--University of Stellenbosch, 2010.


ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In a stable economic environment and enabling macro economy, such as Namibia, a small and medium enterprise (SME) sector is vital for the growth and sustainability of the economy. Although several studies have been conducted on SMEs, to the best of the researcher's knowledge, no single study has been conducted with regard to SME development in Namibia with emphasis on the Khomas region. The aim of this study was to explore the progress made, during the last decade in minimising constraints faced by SMEs in key developmental areas, such as access to finance, sound management, business processes, marketing and strategic alliances. In order to adequately address these key developmental areas the research sought to address the following questions: What strategies should SMEs adopt in terms of management, finance, marketing and networking in order to ensure their future viability? What is the institutional capacity from the sample of 50 SMEs in the Khomas region? What are the likely capital and recurrent cost implications with respect to traders wanting to form alliances in the Khomas region? What potential problems are likely to emanate from the SMEs' venturing into the export processing enclave? The government of Namibia, in 1997, recognised the important role SMEs can play in the country's socio-economic development. A number of policy documents were issued to give clear definitions of small businesses and to stipulate government programmes intended to ensure that conditions are favourable and enabling for SMEs' growth in Namibia. This research study explores the impact of the process of development since the passing of the Government SME Policy in 1997. Furthermore, this research looked at policy documents on SMEs, national development plans (NDPs), millennium development goals (MDGs), other developmental goals and government policies relevant to SME development in Namibia. The analysis indicates that the majority (74%) of SMEs in the Khomas region are involved in general dealing, like footstalls, detergent makers and the service industry. According to the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI 1997: 29), lack of finance is widely regarded as one of the major obstacles to the development of more advanced small businesses. Most of the SMEs do not have sufficient funds to venture into capital intensive programmes like manufacturing activities. As a result, general dealing becomes a better option since it does not require large sums of money to start operating or to expand current operations. Financial institutions have stringent collateral requirements; therefore access to finance is regarded as a major limiting factor for SME growth in the Khomas region. The survey also concluded that most SME owners act as sole proprietors and try to perform all business operations by themselves. They usually fail to keep financial records, due to ignorance of its importance. As a result most SMEs do not know how much money they have used or profits made. This research investigated, concluded and made recommendations on the factors that have assisted or impeded SME development in Namibia, with emphasis in the Khomas region.

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