Central Data Catalog

Citation Information

Type Working Paper - REDI3x3 Working paper 26
Title Temporal and spatial enterprise change in a township informal economy: A resurvey of micro-enterprises in Delft South
Issue 26
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2017
Page numbers 1-30
URL http://www.redi3x3.org/sites/default/files/Charman & Petersen 2017 REDI3x3 Working Paper 26​Enterprise change in Delft informal economy.pdf
In 2010, a team of researchers undertook a survey of informal micro-enterprises, piloting a new method for researching township businesses in a spatial context. Using a small area census approach, the objective was to identify all existing micro-enterprises within an area of sufficient size (approx. 2km2/10,000 households) to adequately reflect the spatial dynamics of business distribution whilst enabling the researchers to obtain a qualitative understanding of enterprise dynamics. In 2015 the researchers returned to the field to resurvey the area. The research sought to identify measurable evidence of enterprise growth and/or change through documenting all enterprise activities and again recording the spatial distribution of each business. The comparative dataset provides a unique opportunity to reconsider questions about the township informal economy and examine how previously identified businesses have fared over time; how sectors have performed in relative and comparative terms; and the factors that have influenced shifts in business dynamics including spatial distribution. The 2015 research found that the number of micro-enterprise activities had doubled (from 879 to 1798) with growth recorded in all but two sectors. The paper argues that the change represents a deepening of entrepreneurial activity in Delft. One of the main drivers of change are survivalist businesses in the fast moving consumer goods market segment; the majority of these microenterprises are run by middle-aged women. The research found insubstantial evidence of businesses relocating to the high street, though there is evidence of fluid adaptability and innovation in the positioning of businesses and their product focus.

Related studies

Charman, Andrew, and Leif Petersen. "Temporal and spatial enterprise change in a township informal economy: A resurvey of micro-enterprises in Delft South." REDI3x3 Working paper 26 , no. 26 (2017).
Copyright DataFirst, University of Cape Town