Original Research

Impact of gender on small and medium-sized entities’ access to venture capital in South Africa

Herring Shava
South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences | Vol 21, No 1 | a1738 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajems.v21i1.1738 | © 2018 Herring Shava | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 04 January 2017 | Published: 24 April 2018

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Herring Shava, Department of Business Management, University of Fort Hare, South Africa

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Background: The debate on the influence of gender on small and medium-sized entities’ (SMEs) access to finance from a demand-side perspective is still ongoing. This study seeks to contribute to the debate from an emerging economy (South Africa) perspective.


Aim: The study investigated whether there is a gender gap in SME access to venture capital, a distinct source of finance.


Setting: SMEs play a significant role in South Africa’s economy. Despite the importance of SMEs, access to finance is one of the major constraints affecting their success rate. Globally, to enhance the probability of SME survival, small business practitioners and governments are in search of relevant support measures. One of those measures could be adequate access to venture capital. However, it is sad to note that SMEs seldom use this distinct source of finance.


Methods: The study made use of the quantitative method of research and is descriptive by design. Self-administered questionnaires were emailed to respondents for the purposes of gathering primary data. The t-test was used to statistically analyse primary data.


Results: The results reveal that there is a statistically significant difference in the accessibility of venture capital between male- and female-owned SMEs.


Conclusion: The article concludes that a gender gap in access to venture capital exists owing to differences in business approach between female entrepreneurs and their male counterparts. Female entrepreneurs are cautious about the level of risk they are willing to take and the amount of control they wish to exercise in firm ownership.


gender; venture capital; SMEs; investment; access; entrepreneurs


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