Enterprise case studies

Impact of N8 change Boshoff DealesvilleEnterprise churn and the stable enterprise character of Bothaville” and “The disastrous impact of a National Road route change on Small Towns” (see text box) are some of the examples of enterprise case studies by EOSA’s Johannes Wessels and Daan Toerien.   EOSA also identified the following topics for research:

  • Several dozen world class enterprises export successfully from small towns in several provinces of South Africa. Key issues to assess:
    • Are there lessons regarding entrepreneurship, products and services?
    • What are the impacts of those concerns on the local town: job creation and new opportunities in the value chains?
    • If the hurdles those entrepreneurs have to cope with can be lowered, what could the impact be on small town growth and job creation?
  • Excellent schools – both public and private – have major impacts on local economies. The Paarl boasts with several exceptional schools, some of the most famous being Paarl Boys’ High, La Rochelle Girls’ High and Paarl Gimnasium.
    • If we understand the actual economic contribution of successful schools, small and medium sized towns (and their businesses) could benefit from contributing to school improvement.
    • Are there low-hanging fruit opportunities in small towns regarding schools?  
  • Informal businesses are important coping strategies for poor individuals and households struggling to make ends meet. Informal businesses are no longer confined to the street vendors, the spaza shop owners, numerous hair saloons or the unlicensed liquor stores, there are the zama zama miners, panel beaters, auto electricians and cement brick manufacturers, to mention a few.
    • Does the informal enterprise world  display similar regularities between enterprise sectors with all the  implications for entrepreneurial space?
    • Are informal enterprises in certain sectors more inclined to formalise than  others, and if so, why?
    • Regulations are mostly viewed as unnecessary barriers on the poor involved in informal business. To which extent are informal business activities barriers on the formal enterprise environment hampering investment and job creation? (There are World Bank studies indicating this in several African countries).
  • Several small towns that show signs of economic resilience have enterprises established by newcomers who left careers or sold their businesses in the metros. In some cases the impact has been such that the enterprise character of the town has changed (e.g. Richmond on the N1). A case study of newcomer entrepreneurs in small towns could shed light on the following questions:
    • Was it lack of entrepreneurial insight or lack of venture capital that had left entrepreneurial space vacant or under-utilised in small towns?
    • What could small towns (both the municipality & the existing business community) do to entice more such newcomer investors for local economic well-being?
    • What entrepreneurial opportunities are opening up in the wake of the changes that newcomer enterprises had set in motion?
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