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The impact of gender on SME characteristics and access to debt finance in South Africa


  • David Kudzaishe Garwe
  • Olawale Fatoki


This study aimed to determine whether South African small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are affected by gender differences in demand for debt and its availability. It also looked at whether there are gender differences in the firm and entrepreneurial characteristics of SMEs. The study was conducted by means of a survey using a self-administered questionnaire and statistical analyses that included descriptive statistics, a t-test and a logistic regression. Significant gender differences were found in SMEs' demand for debt finance but only insignificant differences in availability. The findings also revealed significant gender differences in some of the firm and entrepreneurial characteristics of SMEs. It appears that for SME owners in South Africa gender differences exist in the demand for debt finance but not in its availability. The policy recommendation is that commercial banks, government agencies and non-governmental organisations should aim to help and encourage female SME owners to apply for debt finance.

Suggested Citation

  • David Kudzaishe Garwe & Olawale Fatoki, 2012. "The impact of gender on SME characteristics and access to debt finance in South Africa," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(3), pages 448-461, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:deveza:v:29:y:2012:i:3:p:448-461
    DOI: 10.1080/0376835X.2012.706040

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    1. repec:rnd:arjebs:v:9:y:2017:i:2:p:104-113 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:taf:jbemgt:v:18:y:2017:i:4:p:650-675 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Aleksandr Kljucnikov & Jaroslav Belas, 2016. "Approaches Of Czech Entrepreneurs To Debt Financing And Management Of Credit Risk," Equilibrium. Quarterly Journal of Economics and Economic Policy, Institute of Economic Research, vol. 11(2), pages 343-365, June.
    4. Alain Kikandi Kiuma & Christian Kamala Kaghoma & Joelle Mukenyi Kalala & Allegra Kabamba Mbuyi, 2015. "Mobilité interne et entrepreneuriat des jeunes en République démocratique du Congo," Working Papers PMMA 2015-07, PEP-PMMA.

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