Improving SME access to finance in the North–West Province of South Africa
Bakhas, Imraan Goolam Hoosen
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The purpose of this study is to provide empirical, qualitative evidence concerning the factors within the supply, demand and institutional support environments that hinder SME access to finance as well as the interventions necessary to improve access to finance for SMEs in the North West Province (NWP) of South Africa. The semi-structured interview technique was used to collect data from a sample of 25 organisations. A response rate of 56% comprising two financial institutions and 12 SME support and development organisations currently operating in or providing financial and/or non-financial services to SMEs in the NWP, participated in the study. Descriptive statistics in the form of frequency counts and percentages and a qualitative data analysis software package (Weft QDA) were used to analyse the data and interpret the results. The findings of this study are consistent with and support the findings of previous studies investigating SME access to finance. The findings indicate that the SME sector is characterized by a dearth of entrepreneurs, highly risk averse financial institutions and a poorly functional support and development environment. The findings of this study further indicate that formal and structured collaboration initiatives between financial institutions and SME support organisations are vital to improving SME access to finance in the NWP. The study will be of interest to policy makers, financial institutions and SME support and development organisations interested in SME financing and economic development. The results of the study contribute to the understanding of the current financing challenges facing SMEs and will assist financial institutions, SME support organisations and SMEs to better understand the role and importance of effective stakeholder collaboration in improving SME access to finance.
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