Author(s): Johannes A. Wiid and Michael C. Cant
It has been reported that roughly 50% of the urban population of South Africa resides within township areas. Businesses that operate within these areas are mostly survivalist of an informal nature. The township economy is thus a key area for economic development and growth. This paper aims to explore the perceptions of township business owners on whether the market conditions in Gauteng townships are conducive to business growth and sustainability. Four hundred and ninety-eight useful responses were received from an initial 500 selfadministered questionnaires which were circulated and hand-delivered to a sample of SMME owners residing in townships across Gauteng. Non-probability sampling in the form of convenience sampling was used to select SMMEs within a township. Content analysis was performed on open-ended questions and IBM SPSS Statistics version 26 was used for descriptive analysis. The results emanating from the research indicate that while the majority of respondents felt that the township market conditions meet the requirements for doing business, however challenges such as unemployment, lack of credit/finance, lack of infrastructure, lack of training and shortage of skilled staff still exist that hamper growth and sustainability, and business support is critically needed. Although market conditions in the townships in general meet the requirements for doing business, the challenges and solutions listed by the respondents clearly indicate that market conditions in the townships are not conducive to business growth and sustainability.