Establishing a Creative Innovation Framework for Informal Micro–Enterprises

Keywords: informal micro-enterprises; innovation framework; Gauteng Province; South Africa


The existing innovation models assume an established innovation system and do not provide direct support on a practical level on what activities should be carried out in each basic innovation phase. The study sought to design a tailored creative innovation framework that can serve as a guide for informal micro-enterprises to engage in radical and incremental innovation. Through the application of sequential explanatory mixed-methods research, both quantitative and qualitative data were collected from 400 informal micro-enterprises in four townships of the Gauteng Province, South Africa. The data were analysed using descriptive statistics, correlation analysis, factor analysis, thematic, and constant comparison methods.  The results reveal that informal micro-enterprises require guidance on how to engage in innovation activities throughout all basic innovation phases, which is from discovery to launch. Thus, there is a great deal of innovation-related support required in the informal sector. The study concludes that with proper guidance more informal micro-enterprises will engage in innovation activity and become sustainable. Sustainable informal micro-enterprises can create jobs and some of them will register to become formal businesses, thereby increasing the Government's tax base. A flourishing informal sector will aid in resolving South African and other developing countries' economic challenges.

Author Biographies

Lavhelesani Mulibana, North-West University

NWU Business School, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences

Ravinder Rena, NWU Business School, North-West University

Professor, Dr Ravinder Rena is a profound academician and distinguished scholar in economics, writer, editor, adviser and public intellectual with over 28 years of teaching and research experience in Asia-Pacific, Africa and European continents. He has been an independent consultant and training expert. Prof Rena is currently working as Professor of Economics and Internationalization Project Leader at the NWU Business School, North-West University, South Africa. He also serves as an Adjunct Professor of Economics for Master’s and Doctorate Programmes at Monarch Business School, Monarch University, Hagendorn, Zug, Switzerland. Previously, he worked as a Professor of Economics at the Department of Economics, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa. He also served as Professor and the Coordinator, Joint African Master's Programme (JAMP), Harold Pupkewitz Graduate School of Business at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST). He also worked as the Head of Economics, Department of Business Studies, the Papua New Guinea University of Technology, Papua New Guinea. Prof. Rena earned his Ph.D. from the Department of Economics, Osmania University, Hyderabad, India, with an achievement of University Gold Medal (for the Best Ph.D. candidates/ thesis in the field of Economics/ Commerce/ Business Management). He obtained his M.A., B.Ed., M.Phil., Ph.D from Osmania University and B.A., and LL.B., from Kakatiya University, Warangal, India.

He got the prestigious Award of the Best Researcher 2011 from Namibia University of Science and Technology and also the recipient of the esteemed Award -Man of the Year 2012 which was bestowed upon him by the American Biographic Institute (ABI), USA. Based on his extraordinary research contributions, American Historical Society, USA has been enlisted his profile in the World Who is Who International. He serves as the Chairman of the Panel of Judges for Economics of the Global UnderGraduate (UA) Award based in Dublin, Ireland, United Kingdom. He wrote 10 books and published more than 120 articles in reputed National and International peer-reviewed Journals. Besides, he has published more than 150 articles in Newspapers and Magazines and Websites and presented over 40 papers in the national and international conferences and seminars. He is the founding Editor-In-Chief of an International Journal of Education Economics and Development (IJEED) and Associate Editor of African Journal of Science, Technology, Innovation and Development (AJSTID) which are IBSS and Scopus indexed Journals published by Inderscience, UK and Taylor and Francis UK respectively. He serves as an Editorial Board Member for many reputed Journals.  He has been a Keynote Speaker for various national and international conferences in Europe, America, Africa and Asian continents. As of August 2020, his author Rank is 5,493 out of 512,413 of Social Science Research Network (SSRN),USA in which he is among the top 1.07% researchers in the world. His Google scholar citations: 925; h-index: 17; ih-index-33.

He has widely written in the areas of Economics of Education, Development Economics and Inclusive growth, Globalization and Higher Education, Microfinance, Rural Entrepreneurship, WTO, Sustainable development, FDIs, development aid in Africa. He supervised Ph.Ds, M.Phils and Masters’ theses and dissertations across the globe. He served many academic and professional committees as a Chairman and as a Panel Member. He is also been an external examiner/moderator for Masters and Ph.D of different Universities of Africa, Europe, Asia, America and Australia. He travelled to over 40 countries in the world.


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