Capital structure of small, medium and micro enterprises: major factors for a developing economy

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Managing capital structure is an imperative decision made by all firms. The manner in which financing is organized is a strategic financial decision and managers must settle on the amount of debt in relation to equity that it requires to maintain. Despite many empirical studies investigating the choice of capital structure for large corporates, minimal research has been conducted on capital structure decisions in small, medium, and micro enterprises (SMMEs). This study identifies major factors influencing the capital structure of SMMEs in a developing economy and enlightens owners/managers on the importance thereof. This investigation used a quantitative research approach, which was cross-sectional. A convenience sampling method was adopted, and data were collected from 136 respondents, only confined to the retail and whole sector, which is the second largest sector in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The partial least squares structural equation modelling was utilized to determine the statistical results. It was discovered that managerial factors such as individual goals and financing preference of the owner/manager, network ties, attitude to debt, maintaining control and asymmetric information; and firm-level factors such as size of the firm, profitability and firm age are major factors that influence the capital structure of SMMEs. Therefore, capital structure decisions are made motivated by the attitudes of the owners/managers.

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    • Figure 1. Factors affecting financial decisions
    • Figure 2. Factors likely to influence firm’s capital structure
    • Table 1. Construct reliability and validity
    • Table 2. Discriminant validity: Fornell-Larcker criterion