Successful SMEs in South Africa: The case of clothing producers in the Witwatersrand

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41 Citations (Scopus)


The objective in this article is to examine the key determinants of successful SME development in post-apartheid South Africa. The determinants of successful SME growth are investigated by concentrating upon one specific branch of manufacturing, namely clothing production in the Witwatersrand. The article unfolds through four sets of material. First, a review is undertaken of research concerning the factors influencing successful SMEs in sub-Saharan Africa. Major themes are the elements of successful individual enterprise, successful clusters of enterprises and of available research in South Africa. In section two, attention turns to the case study and outlines key features of the development of the South African clothing industry. Section three presents the findings from 27 detailed interviews conducted with successful clothing producers in the Witwatersrand. Overall, it is concluded that the South African research confirms certain of the findings relating to trajectories of successful SME development in other parts of Africa.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)687-716
Number of pages30
JournalDevelopment Southern Africa
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development


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