Proceedings of The 4th International Conference on Business, Management and Economics
The South African Transition to a Greener Economy through Small-to-Medium Sized Enterprise (SME) Integration into the Energy Mix for Economic Development
This study investigates the institutional environment of South Africa and its role as a barrier or enabler for small-to-medium-sized (SMEs) that operate within the green economy. The focus of the investigation is on the energy sector and entrepreneurs’ experience in the government’s procurement processes and the national regulatory framework overseen by the Department of Energy and Mineral Resources. Entrepreneurs and SMEs that enter procurement bids to generate electricity are faced with a highly complex and uncertain environment. The size of the investments required to successfully get an energy business up and running are enormous and very few have managed to do this successfully. Through a series of in-depth interviews, a small sample of entrepreneurs that have set up IPP plants and who have been involved with tender and procurement bids shed light on how they overcame challenges within this environment that presented as barriers and through the use of the strategic orientation of entrepreneurial orientation (EO), were eventually able to exploit opportunities within this environment. A case study method was used in the undertaking of this research. The findings indicate that the role of the state is both a barrier and an enabler and the use of the dimensions of EO namely; autonomy, proactiveness, innovativeness, competitive aggressiveness and risk-taking provide the competitive edge for firms that are successful within this sector.
Keywords: Economic development, entrepreneurial orientation, institutions, entrepreneurship, small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).