The use of ICT by SMMEs in a Digital Economy: A case study in Buffalo City Metropolitan in South Africa

Agyei Fosu
International Journal of Community Development and Management Studies  •  Volume 2  •  2018  •  pp. 159-168
Aim/Purpose:
The goal of this study is to advance understanding of ICT utilization by SMMEs by checking access, ability (in terms of technological skills) and usage of ICT among some SMMEs entrepreneurs operating their businesses in an underdeveloped areas to enhance their business activities in order to utilizes the digital opportunities 21st century digital economies present.
Background:
In today’s world, no nation or region is untouched by the forces of globalization and digital economy. One of the key pioneering forces of globalization is the advances of ICT like internet, social networks, etc. In the sphere of business, this pioneering force has also altered the way businesses and organizations communicate and interact with customers and society. Such alternation presents obvious opportunities for wealth creation and growth for businesses and organizations that are well equipped to take advantages of them. However, for those that are less-equipped, particularly SMMEs, globalization can easily lead to fore-closures and marginalization. It is a common knowledge that SMMEs entrepreneurs mostly rely on ICT gadgets like mobile phone, Laptops, Tablets to conduct their business activities as many of them do not have enough capital to set up offices with necessary equipment. Therefore, using various ICT functions/programs on these ICT devices to enhance their business activities are critical to their businesses in the 21st century digital economies.
Methodology:
Purposive sampling has been used to approach fifty-four SMMEs entrepreneurs operating their businesses in underdeveloped areas locally called Townships in Buffalo City Metropolitan. Microsoft excel was used in the descriptive statistics.
Contribution:
This research will add to the growing knowledge ICT usage in SMMEs in the 21st century digital economies.
Findings:
The results indicate that the participating SMMEs entrepreneurs need to be educated, trained and supported in the use of the ICT applicable to enhance their business activities in order for them to take advantages of 21st century digital economies present.
Recommendations for Practitioners:
The agencies tasked with looking after SMMEs in South Africa needs to consider the lacked of utilization of ICTs by SMMEs entrepreneurs operating their businesses in underdeveloped areas as one of the barrier to growing of their businesses and take necessary steps to address it.
Recommendation for Researchers:
Since age and gender have been proven key-moderating variables in many technology acceptance models. There is a need to explore in depth whether the factors of gender and age also act as barriers.
Impact on Society:
The research will assist stakeholders, policy makers and agencies tasked with looking after SMMEs to identify the barriers hindering SMMEs to grow and address them accordingly.
Future Research:
More work needs to be done to check whether gender, age of the SMMEs entrepreneurs have some effects on their attitude towards the integration of ICT into their business activities.
Information and Communications Technology, Small Medium and Micro-sized Enterprises, 21st century digital economies
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