It’s tough being an entrepreneur in Africa. There is a lot of talk about the importance of entrepreneurs on a continent where formal employment opportunities are scarce yet where largely untapped dynamism abounds. There is also no shortage of talk about the need for support structures for individuals and micro, small and medium enterprises (SMMEs). But the success of these so-called solutions has been patchy. SA is among the developing countries that have whole ministries dedicated to small business development, though their effectiveness has been rather limited. Indeed, there is an argument that government intervention is the last thing entrepreneurship needs. Growing a small business can be made complicated — in fact strangled — by red tape. Bureaucrats tend to view the needs of a small business as simply scaled-down versions of what bigger businesses require. They aren’t.Investors, too, don’t always understand that SMMEs often cannot absorb the large sums of money private equity ...

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