Challenges facing the development of small businesses in the rural areas of the Free State Province.
Motsukunyane, Molise Lawrence.
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Small businesses play a significant role in economic development of the country. However, their growth seems to be constrained by various challenges. Therefore, this study sought to establish the specific factors that hampered growth and development of small businesses in the rural areas of the Free State Province. The specific internal factors that were investigated were: access to training and development, adequate financial management skills, facilitation of marketing of SMMEs products and finally an extent to which the development of rural SMMEs was affected by access to start-up finance. To select the respondents, this study employed a non-probability sampling technique specifically convenience sampling. A structured questionnaire was used to interview a total number of 150 respondents. This number made the sample size of this study. Those SMMEs operated from various districts of the Free State Province, which were Harrismith, Phuthaditjhaba, Ficksburg, Ladybrand and Wepener. The collected data was quantitatively analysed with the use of SPSS computer software. The results indicated that rural SMMEs lacked access to training and development and they operated without financial management qualifications. Marketing of their products was another challenge they faced. Also a shortage of credit facilities for start-up and facilitation for the expansion of businesses was among the constraints to SMMEs development. To overcome the challenges, this study recommended the availability of training and development in the rural areas. Financial literacy mentorship should be established in rural areas for training SMMEs on basic accounting skills. SMMEs should be assisted with a standard way to market their products and financial access must be improved for rural SMMEs. The study confirms previous findings and contributes additional evidence that suggests that lack of education and financial facilities were the main challenges facing SMMEs in many parts of the country.