The impact of broad-based black economic empowerment on the development of women entrepreneurs
Ntshabele, Zipporah Mmaketsa
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Since the first democratic election in South Africa in 1994, there has been many policies aimed at empowering previously disadvantaged people especially women. In 1994 the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) was adopted as a policy framework to guide in the transformation of South Africa. The White Paper on the development of small business was published in 1995. The White Paper indicated that the government encouraged the South Africans to be engaged in entrepreneurship. It stated that, the small, medium and micro enterprises (SMME's) are a driving force in addressing growth and equity in South Africa. Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) emerged in the mid 1990's. The aim was to encourage black people to take part in all aspects of the South African economy. The government refined the concept Black Economic Empowerment to Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment with the aim of improving BEE. Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) aimed at promoting the achievement of the constitutional right to equality and increasing broad-based and effective participation of black people in the economy. It also aimed at promoting a higher growth rate, increased employment and more equitable income distribution. BBBEE was regarded as a project of re-distribution of productive resources to the benefit of groups of historically disadvantaged people. In reality BBBEE has been a process that provides enhanced opportunities for black individuals rather than groups. BBBEE has created a black capitalist class. Women especially blacks were the most disadvantaged group, and BBBEE was supposed to develop women, especially women entrepreneurs. This study, however, indicated that BBBEE did not succeed in the development of women entrepreneurs on the ground level. Women are motivated to take part in entrepreneurship, but they do not get enough support from the government. There are many obstacles that inhibit the growth of women entrepreneurs, such as the lack of financial support and business skills. Women also lack self-confidence. The development of women entrepreneurs can improve the economic status of the country. Empowering women entrepreneurs and ensuring that they are also in the fast lane of BBBEE deals, could have a positive spin on job creation and poverty alleviation in South Africa.