The State of Small Business in South Africa

This edition of The Real Economy Bulletin is the second edition of the State of Small Business published by TIPS. It includes a review of trends in small business according to national data looking at small business by the numbers; how many small businesses are there?; employment and earnings; contribution to the GDP; small business by sector; profitability and earnings; assets and liabilities; education levels; ownership by race and gender; and the geography of small business. The two briefing notes look at learnings from efforts to support small business in South Africa from Kate Philip’s new book, Markets on the Margins, and a…
Small business is often seen as a key potential driver of job creation, equality and innovation in South Africa. The National Development Plan argues that small business can open new opportunities to create jobs as well as be a route to economic empowerment. In manufacturing, small business accounts for only a tenth of revenue, but a fifth of employment. Small business provides 55% of formal employment and the available evidence shows virtually no increase in the number of small businesses since 2008, and only relatively slow employment growth. South Africa continues to have low levels of small business compared to…