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Entrepreneur perceptions of sustainable entrepreneurship: a case of Pietermaritzburg SMMEs.

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Understanding the effects of entrepreneurs’ intentions towards Sustainable Entrepreneurship can serve as an initial step in developing true sustainable entrepreneurs. However, limited research has been conducted on the intention of practising entrepreneurs, specifically amongst owners of SMMEs, towards Sustainable Entrepreneurship. Previous studies focused on the traditional entrepreneurial process, with limited studies having been done to investigate the intentions of entrepreneurs to engage in Sustainable Entrepreneurship. Studies focusing on intention towards Sustainable Entrepreneurship are limited, more so in South Africa. Not much has been known regarding the antecedents of intention towards Sustainable Entrepreneurship in South Africa. Studies conducted by various researchers have successfully explained how entrepreneurs practise Sustainable Entrepreneurship and what their contributions are. Unfortunately, the intention and motivation that drive entrepreneurs towards Sustainable Entrepreneurship, have not been addressed adequately in the current literature. Therefore, to address this research gap, this study investigated the perceptions of entrepreneurs on Sustainable Entrepreneurship. The study used a quantitative research approach to collect data from a sample of 234 SMMEs owners. Simple random sampling was used to select the participants from the population. Data was obtained through a questionnaire and were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics. The results revealed that the entrepreneur's intentions to adopt sustainable practices were mostly influenced by the pressures they felt from their customers, investors, society, employees, and colleagues (subjective norms), their attitudes about sustainability, and their perceived behavioural controls. The results further indicated that attitude was the most critical determinant of the intention of entrepreneurs to engage in Sustainable Entrepreneurship. From a managerial perspective, this study recommends that SMMEs in Pietermaritzburg should align their business practices towards the values of their external stakeholders. From a policy perspective, this study recommends that the government and entrepreneurs should prioritise interventions aimed at developing and strengthening intrinsic and extrinsic motivations among entrepreneurs towards sustainability. The main limitation of the study was that the sample for this study was SMMEs which were registered under the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) in Pietermaritzburg. This population does not represent all SMMEs in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, or South Africa as a whole. As a result, the findings cannot be generalised to the entire population of South African entrepreneurs.


Master Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.