Original Research

The prospects of making small retail outlets in the Townships aggressively competitive

Malefane Johannes Lebusa
The Southern African Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management | Vol 6, No 1 | a34 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajesbm.v6i1.34 | © 2015 The Southern African Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management
Submitted: 20 July 2015 | Published: 31 December 2013

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Abstract

Historically, township Small Retail Outlets were mostly established for survival and operated under a generally closed market system where the competition was not very strong. However, with the advent of democracy many people lost their formal income through retrenchments and out of desperation, many of these people opened Small Retail Outlets thus most of the existing and new entrants into the township market were unskilled or semiskilled labourers with little or no formal skills in business or entrepreneurship. Such efforts were rarely guided by any specific and informed strategy of identifying and exploiting a gap in the market. With the consolidation of the free market system under democracy, big brand businesses such as Shoprite Checkers and Small Retail Outlets of foreign nationals with different strategies entered and competed in this township market. With fewer formal skills in business and entrepreneurship, the owners of the Small Retail Outlets struggled to compete and thrive under these relatively new economic conditions. Given this situation, I conducted semi-structured interviews with fifteen of these traditional Small Retail Outlets to find out and better understand the challenges they face and the skills that might be needed to aggressively compete in this space. Based on these findings and understandings, I further examined these issues and suggest infusions of specific entrepreneurship skills that could develop their aggressive competitiveness.

Keywords: entrepreneurship, competitiveness, small retail outlets, shopping complexes, innovation


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