Twenty years after apartheid was formally abolished, black handicraft exporters in Cape Town still innovate significantly less than their white counterparts. This study explains these differences based on the segmentation of business and innovation systems, a novel approach that aims to contribute to a deeper understanding of path dependency in South Africa. The study concludes that the business system is segmented between formal and informal firms and that such segmentation is correlated with race. Despite path dependency, a group of black entrepreneurs has managed to breach the barriers, owing to the ongoing support of an intermediate organisation, intense networking and risk-taking.

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Development Southern Africa
Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS)

Fransen, J., & Helmsing, B. A. (2016). Breaching the barriers: The segmented business and innovation system of handicraft exports in Cape Town. Development Southern Africa, 33(4), 486–501. doi:10.1080/0376835X.2016.1179098