How South African SMEs could escape ‘the heavyweight knockouts’!

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Small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which, over the years, were in charge of supplying goods to rural areas and townships, are fast losing markets to large business. Modern customers want value-for-money through high-quality products at low prices, greater convenience, and a wide range of choices. Large enterprises are capable of meeting these demands. Hence, they have a competitive advantage over the SMEs. In addition, large corporations can deliver the convenience of one-stop-shopping. This paper exposes SMEs options useful for offseting the might of large business. It highlights the available routes for strength creation. One option is to step aside temporarily while running the SMEs, but preparing fully for future competition. Another option is to fill the gaps left by large companies while preparing to contest face-to-face. Recommendations are that SMEs should exploit available empowerment opportunities and, then, use methods of advantage to work in the presence of large businesses. SMEs can delay direct competition until the time is right.

Keywords: competition, empowerment, large enterprises, SEDA, SMEs.
JEL Classification: D41, D51, D83.

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