The role of access to finance in the growth of firms in South Africa
SMEs can play a significant role in the economy as drivers of economic growth and job creation. Many SMEs are, however constrained by their limited access to finance. This study examines the source of finance of firms in South Africa and estimates the importance of finance as a predictor of output per worker. Using the 2007 World Bank Enterprise Survey, the study focuses on the firm’s access to finance, or sources of finance, as a predictor of the productivity of South African firms. Other factors that are taken into account include sources of finance such as the overdraft of the firm, collateral available and the type of financial institution used to acquire financing. These covariates all play an integral role in whether or not the firm will receive the financing, the amount granted and the repayment terms. Empirical analysis is done with a Cobb–Douglas production function regression to determine how output per worker is influenced by various factors. The results show that output per worker improves as additional finance variables are added to the regression model. Using an access to finance dummy as the dependent variable, a logistic regression model is used to calculate the probability of access to finance as a constraint based on the independent variables. The results of the logistic regression show that the probability of firms’ experiencing access to finance as a constraint is decreased by variables such as fixed assets and increase with negative factors such existing debt and collateral. These results are expected based on previous research on the topic and confirms that access and finance sources are determinants for firm growth. Recommendations include more extensive research on the topic, with panel data over a longer period and specific to a country. Policy recommendations include amended evaluation techniques, adapted to the individual firm’s requirements and strengths.