Sustaining Informal Sector Women Entrepreneurs through Financial Literacy

  • Published on

  • View

  • Download


  • Glenrose Jiyane and Britta Zawada

    Sustaining Informal Sector Women Entrepreneurs through Financial Literacy

    DE GRUYTER DOI 10.1515/libri-2013-0004 Libri 2013; 63(1): 4756

    Abstract: The United Nations Millennium Development Goals seek to address poverty among other things. It is as-sumed that addressing poverty issues through financial literacy will bring growth to a countrys economy. The informal sector is one avenue that has been observed to be contributing highly to the creation of employment op-portunities, economic development and empowerment in South Africa, especially for women. However, the in-formal sector is heterogeneous which makes it difficult to quantify its profile, and due to the nature of its existence, informal sector entrepreneurs are often characterised by low levels of skills, limited access to organised markets, and low and unstable incomes. This is influenced by their lack of knowledge and skills in business management. It is believed that financial literacy can improve the perfor-mance of informal sector entrepreneurs and sustain busi-ness information and skills. By means of financial literacy, their basic life skills such as numeracy and literacy, com-munication skills and information searching skills will be improved which, in turn, will improve their confidence, generate good income and Millennium Development Goals 13 , namely that of poverty alleviation and equal education opportunities for women, though not all will be reached. The study uses focus group discussions, inter-views and observations to explore financial literacy levels and their impact on informal sector women entrepreneurs (ISWEs) in South Africa. The purpose of this study is to de-termine their mathematical literacy, money management behaviour and skills, selection and utilisation of financial products, and access to and utilisation of information and advice. There were young, middle-aged and older ISWEs in the three focus groups. Participants had some limited skills such as personal, business operation and math-ematical literacy. It was also interesting to determine the ISWEs realisation of their lack of awareness of business information services, and of their need for training inter-ventions.

    Dr. Glenrose Velile Jiyane: Senior Lecturer, Department of Informati-on Science, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa, email: Dr. Britta E. Zawada: Deputy Executive Dean, College of Human Sci-ences, and former Chair, Department of Linguistics, Pretoria, South Africa, email:

    IntroductionIn 2008, the world experienced a recession, and the ex-perts such as the World Bank Group (2009) and the In-ternational Monetary Fund (IMF) (Alderman 2010) are speculating on the return to recession and urge people to save in order to survive. However, financial intermediaries observe that South Africa does not have a culture of sav-ing; therefore they have a role to play in teaching people to save. For instance, according to Gareth Stokes from the newspaper Mail & Guardian (2011) South Africans are not saving enough, and subsequently the South African Re-serve Bank Quarterly Bulletin (2011), indicates that South African households only save 1.5% of the gross domestic product (GDP). The Banking Association of South Africa (BASA) (2011) has observed that a lack of Financial Lit-eracy (FL), which, according BASA is the key to saving, is one of the factors that brought about a global financial cri-sis in recent years. According to BASA, promoting FL will foster creative capitalism which is needed to drive mar-ket-based social change. Therefore, financial freedom is imperative for sustainable socio-economic development. Businesses require people to have a sound financial liter-acy so that they develop a habit of managing the finances of the business that will make it grow. Financial Literacy is the ability to make informed judgements and decisions on the use and management of money (Noctor, Stoney, and Stradling 1992).

    Worldwide, women fulfil primarily domestic and child- rearing roles. In addition, it has been observed that wom-en perform a number of activities over and above domestic ones even outside their households (Cowling 2010). Cowl-ing gives further examples of them influencing a large percentage of decisions made in families and communi-ties; they make decisions regarding healthcare providers, personal banking relationships, dining habits, school choices, personal family time and more, like engaging in businesses especially informal businesses. According to Leach (1996), the reality of most womens lives is that they are obliged by poverty and deprivation to seek an income away from home. With women being denied opportunities of advancing themselves in education, many of them are understandably without good education which is necessa- ry to be employed in jobs with lucrative income and de-

    Brought to you by | Florida State University LibraryAuthenticated | Date | 3/6/13 6:55 AM

  • 48 Glenrose Jiyane and Britta Zawada, Sustaining Informal Sector Women Entrepreneurs DE GRUYTER

    cent working conditions and privileges. Many of the wom-en seek employment in the informal sector (IS). According to Liimatainen (2002) the term informal sector was used for the first time in reports on Ghana and Kenya prepared under the International Labour Organisation (ILO) World Employment Programme at the beginning of the 1970s. Li-imatainen further indicates that ILO refers to an informal sector (IS) term as commonly used to refer to that segment of labour market in the developing countries that has ab-sorbed significant numbers of job seekers, mostly in self-employment and to workers in every small production units. However, while informal employment accounts for over 60% of total urban employment in Africa (Liimatai-nen 2002), Karl (2000) observe that it is not only in de-veloping countries that IS has grown and has contributed to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) coun-tries of which South Africa is not a member, IS accounts for +/-15% of the GDP.

    Although the IS has absorbed many retrenched, un-employed, literate, neo-literate, illiterate, young, aged, women, men, able and disabled, and has been a solution and an alternative platform for employment during eco-nomic downturns and recessions, it has been given many unacceptable names because of the nature of business activities that are carried out in this sector. According to Ikoja-Odongo and Ocholla (2004), such names as paral-lel, undeclared, marginal, unofficial, underground, wan-gling economy are some but not all the names that the IS is known by.

    However, contrary to this, the perceptions of different people towards IS are different. For instance, Bruthiaux (2002) sees the IS as a ready-made context for creativity and initiative as well as a key basis for increased earning power and empowerment through self-employment. It is evident that opportunities for self-realisation, self-disci-pline, confidence and empowerment are vast in the IS. Ad-ditionally, due to its popularity, specifically during these worldwide economic challenges, the IS is growing very fast and contributes substantially to the economy of any country. The ease of entry and departure, flexible work-ing hours, low education and skills requirements in the IS (Ikoja-Odongo and Ocholla 2004) could be main reasons for its attraction across all sectors of people.

    The IS absorbs even entrepreneurs. According to Sharma and Chrisman (1999), the word entrepreneur was coined by the French economist, Cantillon (1757). It is de-fined as a person who buys at certain prices and sells at uncertain prices. From the definition one could deduce that an entrepreneur is a risk-taker in the decisions made and resource allocations in terms of finance, business lo-

    cation, employees and so forth. In the nineteenth century when the term gained recognition and prominence, Say and Mill both, as quoted by Sobel in The Concise Encyclo-paedia of Economics, affirmed the element of risk-taking in the term entrepreneur. Say (Sobel 2011) placed great emphasis on the risk-taking entrepreneur and further stressed the role of the entrepreneur in creating value by moving resources out of less productive areas into more productive ones. While Mill, as quoted by Sobel (2011) used the term entrepreneur in his popular book, Princi-ples of Political Economy to refer to a person who assumes both the risk and the management of the business (Sobel 2011). This indicates that women entering informal busi-nesses need financial management skills to contribute meaningfully to GDP and managing their business financ-es successfully. They need to be financially literate.

    According to the American Library Association (ALA) (2000), information literacy (IL) is a set of abilities that require individuals to, recognise when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information (ALA 2000, 2). Fur-thermore, Jiyane and Onyancha (2010), and Machet and Wessels (2006) have discussed at length the IL issues both at institutions of higher learning and in communi-ties and families. Therefore, it is crucial to adopt IL in so-ciety through education and training from a tender age. Generally IL is important for personal and business gains (Lynch 1998). He indicates that it is important for people to understand how information resources are mapped into technological and economic structures; in other words how to access information relevant to a businesses and how to use technology to launch your business or com-municating information regarding your business or even designing tools to market your business in order for it to grow. Thus, a combination of IL and FL will assist in gain-ing insight in the management of personal finances and business-related matters. The management of any busi-ness requires a person to have gained skills by means of IL and FL among other things. However, according to (Ikoja-Odongo and Ocholla 2004), the majority of entrepreneurs in the IS acquire skills through experience and they there-fore, obviously lack FL. When looking at Says definition of an entrepreneur as that of risk-taking and marrying it with the Ikoja-Odongo and Ochollas (2004) observation that the majority of entrepreneurs gain business skills on the job, it is evident that an entrepreneur risks embark-ing on business even less armed with business skills and knowledge. This emphasises the definition of an entrepre-neur as a person who is a risk-taker and it poses a need for extensive interventions and support. According to Lii-matainen (2002), the development of relevant skills and

    Brought to you by | Florida State University LibraryAuthenticated | Date | 3/6/13 6:55 AM

  • Glenrose Jiyane and Britta Zawada, Sustaining Informal Sector Women Entrepreneurs 49DE GRUYTER

    Standard Money Management Benchmark

    I. Money management: Recognises how cash flow management and net worth analysis can be used as tools to achieve financial goals

    Cash Flow Management Adults can: -Identify the components of a budget.-Create personalised budget documents.-Revise their budgets to reflect current cash flow.Personal Net WorthAdults can:-Identify the components of a personal net worth statement.-Create personalised net worth statements-Understand that their net worth will fluctuate as the values of their assets and liabilities change.Financial Goal SettingAdults can:-Differentiate between short and long term financial goals.-Prioritise their financial goals.-Construct a realistic financial goal action plan.-Revise their financial goals as life circumstances change.

    II. Credit: Know how and where to obtain credit, and the implications of using and misusing credit

    Obtaining CreditAdults can:-Differentiate among the types of credit.-Understand which types of credit are better suited for particular purposes than other types.-Identify types of financial institutions where credit can be obtained.-Understand how credit application works.Utilisation of CreditAdults can: -Comprehend the legal implications of using credit.-Understand what a credit report is, how to dispute errors in credit reports and what a consumers rights are regarding credit reports.-Recognise what precautions can be taken to prevent identity theft and fraud, and what to do if victimised.

    III. Debt Management: Recognise how using debt can be a tool in asset building

    Debt MeasurementAdults can:-Know what tools are available to them to measure their debt load.-Determine what their appropriate debt load is.-Understand the difference between good debt and bad debt.Debt ResolutionAdults can:-Recognise the warning signs of excessive consumer debt.-Understand options available to assist with excessive debt loads.Evaluate which professionals can assist in dealing with excessive debt issues.

    IV. Risk Management: Use appropriate risk management strategies to protect assets and quality of life

    InsuranceAdults can:-Differentiate among the types of insurance products.-Understand their insurance needs.-Comprehend the implications of being insured or uninsured.Risk ManagementAdults can:-Evaluate the effectiveness of risk management tools in protection against financial loss.-Assess their risk tolerance level.-Use risk tolerance levels in developing risk management strategies.

    V. Investment and Retirement Planning:Implement investment and retirement strategies to achieve financial goals

    Investment and Retirement PlanningAdult can:-Differentiate among the types of investment vehicles.-Identify the types of financial institutions where investment products can be purchased.-Understand the differences between retirement and non-retirement, and qualified and non-qualified investments.-Recognise the importance of planning for retirement.+Investing and Retirement StrategiesAdults can:Evaluate the risks and rewards associated with investment options.-Understand the role risk tolerance plays when choosing investment vehicles.-Comprehend the legal implications of investing.-Assess their overall financial situation in determining retirement needs.

    Table 1: National Standards for Adult Financial Literacy Education (Source: Institute for Financial Literacy 2007)

    Brought to you by | Florida State University LibraryAuthenticated | Date | 3/6/13 6:55 AM

  • 50 Glenrose Jiyane and Britta Zawada, Sustaining Informal Sector Women Entrepreneurs DE GRUYTER

    knowledge is a major instrument for improved productiv-ity, better working conditions, and the promotion of de-cent work in the informal economy; hence the necessity to equip IS entrepreneurs with business skills.

    Realising the gap between the business performance of entrepreneurs and the skills and knowledge of the businesses they own, the Institute for Financial Literacy (2007) developed National Standards for Adult Financial Literacy Education. Table 1 reflects the standards.

    Bernhard (2008) stated that FL that is taught through entrepreneurship skills addresses development and pov-erty reduction, which is in line with the Millennium Devel-opment Goals (MDGs) of the United Nations (UN). The Mil-lennium Declaration was adopted in 2000 by all United Nations Member States. In this declaration, the U.N. Mem-ber States agreed to tackle eight goals and achieve them by 2015: Goal 1, eradicate extreme hunger; Goal 2, achieve universal primary education; and Goal 3, promote gender equality and empower women (United Nations 2012) are relevant to this study.

    Efforts of eradicating extreme hunger, as embedded in Goal 1, no matter how massive or tiny they seem, should be supported. Informal businesses have a potential to eradi-cate hunger in the households of the traders, because the profit could be used to support families.

    Primary education is the foundation for further and higher education, which is addressed in Goal 2. It should be very strong because it is when basic literacy, both through the introduction of numbers and counting as well words and letters are introduced. Without this founda-tion, a strong universal education would be weak and next to non-existent.

    Gender equality and women empowerment, addressed in Goal 3, have been a focus of many governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Giving women equal opportunity to access education, health facilities and equal work opportunities is a vital step towards reach-ing the goal of addressing differences that exist between men and women.

    As reflected in Table 1, FL is not only about counting and the ability to balance numbers; FL is taught in entre-preneurship where topics such as basic concepts, build-ing assets, setting goals, overcoming financial obstacles, communicating money, budgeting, the role of financial institutions, start-up and operational costs, revenues and financing are addressed (Bernhard 2008).

    Educational institutions such as schools are avenues where FL skills could be introduced. This is a very con-venient stage because incorporating FL into the school curriculum as early as primary school will be an internal arrangement of the school. This will help ensure that even

    the many students who leave school early or who do not pursue their educational dreams due to the death or un-employment of their parents among many other reasons that prevent them from continuing with their education, are equipped with FL skills so that they can enter entre-preneurship even if it is in the informal sector with better understanding of the business arena.

    Another avenue is informal education outside the for-mal system, where public and community libraries, finan-cial institutions, donors, non-profit organisations (NPOs), and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) play a role in equipping school-leavers and those who are already in the informal business sector such as women entrepreneurs (informal sector women entrepreneurs ISWEs). The or-ganisations mentioned above have an important role to play and seem to be within reachable distance of the com-munity including ISWEs.

    It is widely known that libraries are experiencing budget cuts because the economy is currently not in a good state worldwide, and thus cannot carry out their ser-vices as desired. However, they are of value to ISWEs by means of the extension services they are currently render-ing. Libraries, especially public libraries, know the profile of their communities. Therefore, during their outreach sessions, they could meet the ISWEs business needs by providing them with DVDs, cassettes and oral presenta-tions to listen to or watch practical lectures on business management. Donors, NPOs, and NGOs have rendered their support specifically to poor and rural communities for many years during disasters such as famine, floods and wars. They donate time, items and money to as-sist; therefore, their services could be lobbied to support ISWEs in special training and skills development for their businesses.

    Since conducting a business requires finance as well, it is imperative for ISWEs to involve financial institutions for the prosperity and growth of their businesses. These institutions can give them skills and advice and some technological training which could assist them in manag-ing and sustaining their businesses.

    Financial Literacy Programmes in South AfricaA few financial institutions have realised the need for South Africa as a country to strive towards sound FL. They have consequently initiated some programmes targeting a certain group or sector of clients. The Teach Children to Save South Africa (TCTSA) programme is a collaborative

    Brought to you by | Florida State University LibraryAuthenticated | Date | 3/6/13 6:55 AM

  • Glenrose Jiyane and Britta Zawada, Sustaining Informal Sector Women Entrepreneurs 51DE GRUYTER

    effort of the banking industry and the broader financial sector which is coordinated by BASA in conjunction with the South Africa Saving Institute (SASI). This programme aims to teach children to save, targeting primary school learners from grades 4 to 7. BASA also targets small and medium enterprises (SMEs). BASA realises that small emerging enterprises contribute 34% to South Africas GDP and provide 60% of local jobs. Their observation is that the FL of SMEs is at the forefront of comprehensive access to finance and financial inclusion programmes for any emerging economy.


    The city of uMhlathuze, which is situated in the northeast coast of KwaZulu-Natal province, incorporates Richards Bay, Empangeni, Esikhawini, Ngwelezane, Vulindlela, Fe-lixton and Nseleni towns as well as the rural areas under Amakhosi Dube, Mkhwanazi, Khoza, Mbuyazi and Zungu. For a map of the area, see page 56 of the uMhlathuze City Annual report 2007/2008 (available at According to Mostert and Ntetha (2008), the uMhlathuze Municipality is currently one of a few major industrial growth points in the country although it is situated in a rural area.

    Aims and Methodology

    The world at large is experiencing a recession and eco-nomic downturn. These circumstances and situations add to the high unemployment rate and require a person, who either aspires to run a business or is already in the busi-ness environment, to be equipped with skills to access and assess relevant business information and skills in or-der to sustain and develop a business. The Informal Sector (IS) is one avenue that can contribute to a countrys Gross Domestic Product (GDP) through businesses to support and boost the weak economy. Any business person needs sound FL skills for business sustainability. Therefore the FL levels of ISWEs should be aligned with their productivi-ty and aim at creating job opportunities in order to allevi-ate poverty and contribute significantly to the GDP. The purpose of the study was to establish the extent of FL in improving productivity and sustainability in IS business-es among ISWEs from kwaDlangezwa, Esikhawini and Empangeni Station by examining the business skill levels of ISWEs; establishing their mathematical literacy levels; determining their money and general business manage-

    ment behaviours and skills; and investigating the type of training interventions needed to improve their FL lev-els.

    Interviews, focus group discussions, on-site observa-tions and note-taking, and a literature review were used to collect data. Observations were used particularly to re-cord how informal businesses were conducted especially with the taking-over and relief periods of ISWEs by fam-ily relatives such as their children and spouses, who were not included in the target population Non-probability sampling was used for this study, because, according to Neuman (2006, 220), it is useful when the researcher has limited knowledge about the larger group or population from which the sample is taken. Snowball sampling was used for this study, a form of sampling in which existing sample members suggest potential new sample members (Neuman 2006). One ISWE group referred the researcher to another ISWE group they knew.

    Ethical issues were taken into consideration. First it was explained to the participants that participation was voluntary and withdrawal at any point was acceptable. The participants were alerted to the use of a tape-recorder and it was explained that for the adequate capturing of data, it was necessary to record any important data which could have been overlooked during note-taking.

    Using triangulation, as supported by Neuman (2006), data was collected by means of focus group discussions, interviews and observations employed in three focus groups. The first group was on the campus of the Universi-ty of Zululand, KwaDlangezwa, the second group was at the Esikhawini Mall, and the third group was at the Em-pangeni Station. Each focus group had between 7 and 10 participants. A total of 66 ISWEs participated in the study at the three markets. Nine women were from University of Zululand, KwaDlangezwa, 13 from Esikhawini Mall, and 44 were from Empangeni Station.


    The findings reported here are from the data collected from focus group discussions interviews and observations conducted with the ISWEs and done on-site. Data collect-ed through observations of the daily activities on the busi-ness sites, is reported, even from the children and infants, with whom no interviews and discussions were done. Reporting on data collected through observations from the childrens and infants behaviour and presence was seen to be important to determine the challenges faced by ISWEs, which could be deterring them from gaining busi-ness skills or improving on their educational levelsin or-

    Brought to you by | Florida State University LibraryAuthenticated | Date | 3/6/13 6:55 AM

  • 52 Glenrose Jiyane and Britta Zawada, Sustaining Informal Sector Women Entrepreneurs DE GRUYTER

    der to improve productivity. ISWEs were informed prior to these observations how important they were to the study. An agreement was also negotiated between the ISWEs and the researcher.

    Personal Information (Age, Marital Status and Educational Levels)

    There were young, middle-aged and older ISWEs in the three focus groups. There were no teenagers and chil-dren during school hours, but many turned up over week- ends and during school holidays. This could mean that parents in these areas were passionate about their chil-dren becoming educated. There were also infants and very young children on-site which could mean that there was nobody to look after them, or that their parents did not have the money for childcare. Some infants were still being breastfed. Table 2 shows the age brackets of the par-ticipants, their marital statuses, and their educational lev-els.

    The results show that the ISWEs at the three markets are represented across all ages from 16 to 60 years. The majority of them fall in the 3645 and 4660 age brackets. This could be because those between 20 and 55 are still ac-tive, child bearing, child rearing, or in employment.

    There is no significant difference between the married and single ISWEs in the three groups. This tells us that both married and single women have a need for employ-ment in the informal or formal sector. In the old times married women used to be care-givers who stayed at home. However, due to deadly diseases such as HIV/AIDS and alarming unemployment rates, even married women have to earn a wage to support their families; a role that was only played by their husbands in the past.

    The educational levels of the ISWEs in the three focus groups are relatively low and in line with the educational levels of entrepreneurs in other African countries. For instance, 76% of informal sector workers in Mali do not have any education at all Lautier (2000). The situation is similar in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana. According to Haan (2002), national micro and small enterprise surveys in Ghana show that the majority of all workers in the mi-cro and small enterprises is without skills and in Kenya 85% of all informal sector operators have not received any training at all. The situation for women might be even worse in rural areas. According to Kent and Mushi (1995) 80% of informal sector workers in Tanzania were found to be unskilled during a National Informal Sector Survey in 1991. It is worth mentioning, though, that five ISWEs in the Kwadlangezwa campus group attained the highest educa-tional level among the three groups, possibly because the

    Esikhawini Market Kwadlangezwa (On-Campus) Market

    Empangeni Station Market

    Age Category 16-35 yrs 4 3 1236-45 yrs 7 4 1446-60 yrs 2 2 1760+ yrs 0 0 1

    TOTAL 13 9 44

    Marital Status Married 7 4 22Single 5 3 15Widow 1 2 7Divorced 0 0 0

    TOTAL 13 9 44

    Educational Levels Lower Primary (Gr 1 Gr 4) 6 4 27 Senior Primary (Gr 5 Gr 7) 4 3 13Early High School (Gr 8-Gr 10) 3 2 3High School (Gr 11 Gr 12) 0 0 1Tertiary (College, Varsity, University of Technology)

    0 0 0

    TOTAL 13 9 44

    Table 2: Personal information

    Brought to you by | Florida State University LibraryAuthenticated | Date | 3/6/13 6:55 AM

  • Glenrose Jiyane and Britta Zawada, Sustaining Informal Sector Women Entrepreneurs 53DE GRUYTER

    focus group is working on a campus where they see stu-dents attending classes and aspiring to be educated; yet, the inevitable challenges take their toll.

    Although one had gone through Grade 12, there was no one with a tertiary education among the ISWEs in the three groups.

    Working Hours-Start Times

    The results show that the ISWEs at Empangeni station start their day very early in the morning and end it very late as compared to the other two groups. Start times for the three ISWEs groups are determined by the fact that their potential markets start at different times. For in-stance, the Kwadlangezwa campus groups start times de-pend on the arrival of university employees and the start times of classes which are between 7:00 and 7:30. Accord-ing to them, there is no point in arriving as early as 5:00 as the Empangeni Station ISWEs group, whose start times depend on the operating times of taxis. The Esikhawini Mall is the determining factor for the Esikhawini ISWEs. The shopping hours of the mall are from 8:00 a.m. They arrive a few minutes earlier to prepare their products by unpacking and displaying them on the tables. Some of them leave their goods in the shops for safekeeping be-cause it is difficult to carry them to and from the Mall every day. They, therefore, wait for the shops to open in order to take out their goods.

    This also has an impact on their end results. The Em-pangeni Station group appears to be financially more bal-anced according to their profits at the end of each day, and their prices are a bit higher than those of the other two markets. This could be because their consumers are not as limited as those of the other two ISWEs groups. There are a lot of buses and taxis at Empangeni Station that are using the station as their point of arrival and departure, and potential buyers are moving in and out of the station.

    Skills Levels

    Bernhard (2008) emphasises the importance of having entrepreneurial skills. Some of the participants had lim-

    ited skills and in some instances their skills needed to be sharpened.

    Personal skills: All 26 participants had personal skills such as organising, problem-solving and communication skills. Their products were clustered in order to promote an easy and quick buying and selling process. Their pro-ducts were arranged according to fruit: oranges, bananas, sweets; vegetables: spinach, cabbage, potatoes; drugs: cigarettes; chewables: sweets, gums; clay, and so forth. However, communication with customers was sometimes inadequate especially when the communication was be-tween them and non-Zulu speakers. This was noticeable in the campus group where there were more students and employees than in the other two groups from other African countries such as Kenya, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Uganda, Nigeria, who were not originally South Africans. A need for good persuasive communication skills to per-suade customers to buy the products was noted.

    Business operation skills: Short- and long-term plan-ning is very essential for a persons day-to-day activities and even more so for business people, especially entre-preneurs in the informal sector. Business operation skills such as short-term planning and budgeting, record-keep-ing and stock-taking (inventory) are the pillars of good business management.

    The results showed that there was a lack of knowl-edge of recording-keeping and stocktaking in all three fo-cus groups. This was evident as most of them did not keep any record of their stock. The few who managed to keep records did not do it properly and professionally because they used notebooks which did not reflect the purchases, profits, losses, and so forth, to show whether or not the business was functioning at a loss or profit.

    Mathematical literacy: Mathematicians are scarce in South Africa. The government is applying many strate-gies to encourage learners to enrol for Mathematics and Science at schools. One of these strategies is the alloca- tion of bursaries and scholarships to learners and students in schools and tertiary institutions to lure them into tak- ing these subjects. With this background in South Afri- ca, one could not expect the ISWEs to have a sound mathematical knowledge, especially because most of them, as indicated in Table 1, do not have a high level of education.

    Market Approximate Start times Approximate End times

    Esikhawini 7:30-8:00 a.m. 18:00-18:30 p.m.KwaDlangezwa (On-Campus) 7:00-7:30 a.m. 17:30-18:00 p.m.Empangeni station 5:00-5:30 a.m. 20:00-21:00 p.m.

    Table 3: Working hours

    Brought to you by | Florida State University LibraryAuthenticated | Date | 3/6/13 6:55 AM

  • 54 Glenrose Jiyane and Britta Zawada, Sustaining Informal Sector Women Entrepreneurs DE GRUYTER

    It was very interesting to see that basic counting of money for change was easily done. It could be because they were working with money and change on a daily ba-sis or because it was only small amounts of money that had to count such as tens, twenties, fifties, and hundreds. However, it was determined that large sums and numbers needed some intervention. This could be the reason why they did not keep proper records. In the majority of cas-es they were assisted with the counting of large sums of money by relatives such as children who were usually not at the markets during the day because they had to attend school. The majority of ISWEs used basic technology such as calculators for quick adding and exact figures. This shows that training interventions could boost the skills and performance of the ISWEs.

    Money and general business management behaviour and skills: The respondents were asked if they saved the money that they made each day, in order to learn more about their business management behaviour and skills. It was found that a lot of money was used for domestic needs such as buying home products and the money was not banked frequently. However, all the ISWEs collected some money, especially the group on the campus. The money was used for a stokvel which was loaned to one of the ISWEs each day. The term stokvel according to Lukhele (1990) is a type of credit union in which a group of people enter into an agreement to contribute a fixed amount of money for a common pool weekly, fortnightly or monthly. It was done to boost members who were without adequate capital to buy stock because they had to take care of their household needs. The stokvel was undertaken in a very informal manner with limited recording and functioned on a basis of trust. They did not deal professionally with credits, debts, and repayments.

    Training Interventions Required

    According to ALA (2000) an information literate person must be able to realise when information is needed. It was very interesting to determine the ISWEs realisation of their lack of business skills and need for training interven-tions among other things. Although the majority of ISWEs from the three groups indicated that they would like to re-ceive training, it was not clear what kind of training they needed and how they would benefit from such training. Since training can be either formal, at a formal institu-tion; or informal, outside the formal education system and provided by voluntary or non-governmental organisa-tions (Liimatainen 2002), the fact that some of the ISWEs may be semi-illiterate depicts that the types of training,

    the materials distributed, the language and even the in-stitutions or personnel offering the training must be taken into consideration. However, the results showed that the ISWEs were not satisfied with the fact that they had lim-ited knowledge and skills in business management. It was indicated that interference of relatives such as children or spouses in some instances, did not fully empower us. This is evident especially when one looks at their limited educational levels. Their children, who might have appar-ently attained higher levels than them, are seemingly able to count faster and balance accurately. If these children are allowed to take over in the business, even for fewest number of hours, with an understanding of helping out or relieving, ISWEs would become over-dependent on their [childrens and spouses] abilities, and in times when they are not available to relieve, ISWEs might find diffi-culties in coping with their informal businesses. Children might also cheat when counting in order to give them-selves pocket money for school, without their mothers approval. Similarly, Farrington, Venter, Boshoff, and Ey-bers (2009) found that leadership in business was taken by the spouse that was more knowledgeable than the oth-er. Thus, interference of the ISWEs husbands could again create dependency and limited accumulation of business knowledge and skills. The need for visits from financial institutions, government and companies to equip us with the necessary skills at our places of work, which could be convenient to us was mentioned. The reason for this could be because they could not leave their businesses to do banking or attend training or workshops to sharpen their skills. Each day away from the business even to buy stock is a loss.

    Libraries and schools were never mentioned as agen-cies or avenues that could be utilised for interventions to boost their business management skills to improve and sustain their businesses, although libraries are regarded as agents of change by the Library and Information As-sociation of South Africa (LIASA 2003). According to ALA, libraries are custodians of IL which relates to FL and thus it could be expected that the interventions with these groups of women, especially in their communities, could be visible. The fact that schools were not even mentioned was not surprising, since many of them left school at an early grade and they associated schools with their chil-dren, not with themselves. Thus, the role of schools in meeting their needs for training and interventions could not be conceivable.

    Brought to you by | Florida State University LibraryAuthenticated | Date | 3/6/13 6:55 AM

  • Glenrose Jiyane and Britta Zawada, Sustaining Informal Sector Women Entrepreneurs 55DE GRUYTER

    Conclusions and RecommendationsBusiness skills and knowledge attained on the job play a significant role which has given opportunities to ISWEs to sustain their businesses and generate money with their limited skills and knowledge. Some of them have noticed a slight growth in their businesses depending on their lo-cations. Some ISWEs acknowledge the opportunity they have as IS business entrepreneurs where the benefits of earning a living and being independent are being reaped.

    The mathematical literacy levels of ISWEs are very ba-sic and they are experiencing difficulty in working with large numbers. Thus, money management and skills are practiced on a limited basis, although family members or relatives may assist. Such interventions by relatives, al-though acknowledged, do not fully empower ISWEs in the management of their businesses.

    ISWEs need additional support to develop sound prac- tices leading to the sustainability of their businesses. The ISWEs lack opportunities for re-training and re-skilling they need. Schools, libraries, donors, government, non-governmental organisations, and non-profit organisations play a significant role in reaching out to disadvantaged communities. Financial institutions should visit the work-ing places of ISWEs to teach them about the products, assistance, and support they have for this sector. Both public and community libraries are other information institutions which are available in the communities and could be used to reach out to poor and disadvantaged communities, including ISWEs. NGOs, NPOs, and other donors could support their strategies aimed at empower-ing ISWEs with information and training though librar- ies.

    When the educational system was reviewed after the change in government in 1994, many changes were made to South Africas educational system, which resulted in the closing of some colleges of education, vocational and technical colleges. ISWEs are in business on a full-time basis, and in most instances they are adults. Going back to school to attend full time may be impossible since many of them have responsibilities such as families to look after with the money they obtain from their businesses. On-the-job educational opportunities aimed at equipping ISWEs should be tailored to meet their level of education, marital status, age, business responsibilities, etc. to benefit them. Therefore, vocational training centres should be backer-introduced because they concentrated on the skills and practicalities of professions and trades. When re-instating technical and vocational training in communities, they should offer lessons on basic business, marketing and en-trepreneurial skills.

    Introduction of entrepreneurship education and training should be integrated into the school curriculum. Non-formal education programs should be developed and offered to suit the needs of ISWEs, and be should be used to supplement formal education.

    ReferencesAlderman, L. 2010. IMF Calls for Focus on Creating Jobs. New York Times, September 13. Accessed October 24, 2012.$ref=global-home. American Library Association (ALA). 2000. The Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education. Chicago: ALA. Accessed April 3, 2011. Banking Association of South Africa (BASA). 2011. Financial Literacy is crucial to improve our national savings rate. Accessed July 23, 2012.,Investing_Saving~1084,Financial_literacy_is_crucial_to_improve_our_national_savings_rate~10050. Bernhard, R. 2008 Building Financial Literacy Skills through Entre- preneurship. Paper presented at OECD-Bank Indonesia International Conference on Financial Education, Bali, Indonesia, 2122 October. Accessed January 23, 2013., P. 2002. Hold your Courses: Language Education, Lan-guage Choice and Economic Development. TESOL Quarterly 36 (3): 275296.Cantillon, R. 1755. Essai sur la nature du commerce en general. Lon-dres: Fletcher Gyles.Cowling, D. 2010. The Role of Women in the Community. New FoundNation [blog] August 20. Accessed October 24, 2012., S. M., E. Venter, C. Boshoff, and C. Eybers. 2009. Cor-preneurial Businesses in South Africa: Factors Influencing Success. Paper presented at Business Management Discourse in the New Millennium: Challenges and Opportunities the 21st Conference of the Southern Africa Institute for Management Scientists (SAIMS), 13 16 September, Summerstrand Hotel, Port Elizabeth. Accessed Octo-ber 24, 2012. Haan, H. C. 2002. Training for Work in the Informal Sector: New Evi-dence from Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. Geneva: International La-bour Organization. Accessed January 23, 2013., R., and D. N. Ocholla. 2004. Information Seeking Be-haviour of the Informal Sector Entrepreneurs: The Ugandan Experi-ence. Libri 54 (1): 5466. Institute for Financial Literacy. 2007. National Standards for Adult Financial Literacy Education. South Portland, ME: Institute for Finan-cial Literacy. Accessed June 14, 2009., G. V., and O. B. Onyancha. 2010. Information Literacy Educa-tion and Instruction in Academic Libraries and LIS Schools in Institu-tions of Higher Education in South Africa. South African Journal of Libraries and Information Science 76 (1): 1123.

    Brought to you by | Florida State University LibraryAuthenticated | Date | 3/6/13 6:55 AM

  • 56 Glenrose Jiyane and Britta Zawada, Sustaining Informal Sector Women Entrepreneurs DE GRUYTER

    Karl, K. 2000. The Informal Sector. The Courier 178 (Dec 1999Jan 2000). Accessed January 24, 2013., D. W., and P. S. D. Mushi. 1995. The Education and Training of Artisans for the Informal Sector in Tanzania. London: Overseas Devel-opment Administration. Accessed January 23, 2013., B. 2000. Received and Debatable Ideas on the Informal Sector. The Courier 178 (Dec 1999-Jan 2000). Accessed Janu-ary 24, 2013., F. 1996. Women in the Informal Sector: The Contribution of Education and Training. Development in Practice 6 (1): 2533.Library and Information Science Association of South Africa (LIASA). 2003. Tsoga o itirele: Libraries as Agents of Change LIASA Annual Conference [Theme], Rustenburg, 23 26 September. Accessed June 12, 2010., M. R. 2002. Training and Skills Acquisition in the Infor-mal Sector: A Literature Review. Geneva: International Labour Organi-zation. Accessed January 23, 2013. http://, A. 1990. Stokvels in South Africa: Informal Saving Schemes by Blacks for the Black Community. Johannesburg: Amagi Books.Lynch, C. 1998. Information Literacy and Information Technological Literacy: New Components in the Curriculum for a Digital Culture. Accessed October 20, 2012. Machet, M., and N. Wessels. 2006. Family Literacy Projects and the Public Library. Innovation, 32: 5573.Mill, J. S. 1909. Principles of Political Economy with Some of Their Ap-plications to Social Philosophy, edited by William J. Ashley. Library of Economics and Liberty. Accessed February 11, 2013., J., and M. Ntetha. 2008. Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) in Secondary Education Institutions in the uM-hlatuze Municipality, South Africa: An Insight into their Utilization, Impact and the Challenges Faced. South African Journal of Libraries and Information Science 74 (1): 2340.Neuman, W. L. 2006. Basics of Social Research: Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches. 6th ed. London: Allyn and Beacon.

    Noctor, M., S. Stoney, and R. Stradling. 1992. Financial Literacy: A Discussion of Concepts and Competences of Financial Literacy and Opportunities for its Introduction into Young Peoples Learning. Lon-don: National Foundation for Educational Research.Say, J.-B.1855. A Treatise on Political Economy. Translated from the 4th edition of the French by C. R. Prinsep. Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo & Co. Accessed February 11, 2013., P., and J. J. Chrisman. 1999. Toward a Reconciliation of the Definitional Issues in the Field of Corporate Entrepreneurship. En-trepreneurship Theory and Practice 23 (3): 1127.Sobel, R. S. 2011. Entrepreneurship. In The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics. 2nd ed. Accessed March 21, 2011., G. 2001. Financial Literacy is Crucial to Improve our National Savings Rate. FANews (22 June). Accessed September 3, 2011.,Investing_Saving~1084,Financial_literacy_is_crucial_to_improve_our_national_savings_rate~10050. South African Reserve Bank Quarterly Bulletin. 2011. The World Bank and Extractive Industries: Report of the Extractive Industries Review. Accessed October 21, 2012. WB-SITE/EXTERNAL/TOPICS/EXTOGMC.Stokes, G. 2011. Stand up for your country. Mail & Guardian (29 July). Accessed August 27, 2012. United Nations. 2012. Millennium Development Goals: 2012 Progress Chart. Accessed November 08, 2012. World Bank Group. 2009. The Great Recession and Import Protec-tion: The Role of Temporary Trade Barriers. Accessed July 23, 2012.

    Editorial historyreceived 28 August 2012final version received 2 November 2012 accepted 23 January 2013

    Brought to you by | Florida State University LibraryAuthenticated | Date | 3/6/13 6:55 AM


View more >