Critical environmental dynamics: barriers restraining business growth in rural areas of southern region of KwaZulu-Natal province

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The study intends to examine the understanding and awareness of environmental dynamics and their implications of rural SMEs in the southern region of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) province. The study was conducted within the rural areas of the Southern region of KZN province, using quantitative research methods. The sample for the study consisted of 150 owners/managers of SMEs. The respondents were selected using quota sampling and required to complete a research questionnaire, with an interviewer present to assist. The research instrument consisted of closed-ended questionnaires made up of 5 point Likert scale responses and questionnaires were distributed to five selected areas in rural Southern region of KZN province. The research findings indicate the size of local market is very small to sell their products; poor infrastructure has an impact on their business growth, lack of financial support, as well as tough government regulations, just to mention the few. This study provides both theoretical and practical implications for rural entrepreneurs and policy-makers. The study presents a number of recommendations, including a conceptual growth model for rural SMEs.

Keywords: enveronmental dynamics, rural areas, business growth, SMEs.
JEL Classification: Q56, R11, O44

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