The McGill International Entrepreneurship series
Edited by Hamid Etemad
Chapter 10: Fair trade and alternative food networks in the internationalization of small-scale rural entrepreneurs in South Africa
One of the hallmarks of the contemporary era is the reality of globalization. However, for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), particularly in the countries of the South, trade liberalization can actually reduce market opportunities for struggling entrepreneurs through competition from cheap imports. There is an extensive literature on the processes of internationalization involving SMEs (see, for example, the papers edited by Etemad and Wright 1999; and Etemad 2004). However, there is very little published material on internationalization among SMEs in the world’s poorer countries. It is within this context that this chapter seeks to examine selected cases of how SMEs in the South, and South Africa specifically, have been able to engage with the global economy. In the case of South Africa, historical processes of racial discrimination and the denial of educational and business opportunities to Black people before 1994 have exacerbated the challenges that many entrepreneurs face. Despite the concerted efforts by the South African government to promote small-scale entrepreneurship, the challenges of coping in a corporate-dominated economy, both nationally and globally, have proved significant (Bond 2003; Simon 2003).
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