Factors affecting the sustainability of SME in the manufacturing sector of Baborone, Botswana
Baleseng, Mmoloki Cosmas
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Contemporary business environment is hastily changing worldwide and prompting enterprises to change their way of doing business, failing which they run the risk of being knocked out of the market in which they operate. Quite a number of nations, more especially developing ones, are still being faced with a daunting task of reducing their high levels of poverty and unemployment. The significant role that is played by Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) became the centre of attention for many nations worldwide because of their ability to stimulate economic development through the reduction in poverty, creation of job opportunities and generally contributing remarkably to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). However, despite the positive roles and remarkable contributions made by SMEs globally, they still have an alarming failure rate, even though there are numerous government initiatives and support schemes to empower them to be competitive and sustainable. Hence the motivation behind this study was to investigate the factors that affect the sustainability of SMEs in the manufacturing sector of Gaborone, Botswana and also to find out the factors that can equip SME owners to remain competitive in the manufacturing sector in Gaborone and eventually to cover all other areas in the economy of Botswana. For the same reason, the study was piloted in the city of Gaborone, Botswana with a total population size of 100 SMEs. However due to the vastness of the area and convenience purposes the sample size of this study was 80 SMEs of which were drawn from the database extracted from Gaborone City Council. Furthermore the approach that was followed in this particular study was mostly quantitative and partially qualitative. The technique applied was a standardized closed-ended interview and partially open-ended questions. The design of the questionnaire was made simple in such a way that the questions do not consume the precious business time of the respondents. In addition, the data that was collected was analysed using a statistical package for social sciences where tables, cones, bar/pie charts were utilised for ease of interpretation of the data. The findings of the data collected revealed that SMEs lacked financial support, managerial, marketing and financial skills in order for them to be competitive and sustainable. They also revealed that the government of Botswana was not doing enough in terms of the sustainability of SMEs in Gaborone as most of the respondents were complaining about the rigidness of the government laws and regulations pertaining to SMEs. It is therefore, anticipated that the outcome of this study would benefit SME owners of Gaborone area in that they will be knowledgeable on the factors that affect their enterprises not to be sustainable and remain competitive in the manufacturing sector.