An investigation into the challenges inhibiting growth of indigenous suppliers of protective clothing to urban councils: A case of indigenous suppliers in Harare (January 2009 - December 2012)
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Since independence in 1980 indigenous businesses have been struggling to grow. The introduction of the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act of 2007 brought up another phase of meaningful strides toward the establishment of proper businesses by the indigenous business people of Zimbabwe. These include the manufacturing and trading in protective clothing. Despite all the effort being put by the government, the growth of indigenous suppliers of protective clothing has remained a challenge. The study was conducted to examine factors which are inhibiting growth of these indigenous suppliers of protective clothing to urban councils. The overall objective of the research was to investigate factors restricting the growth of indigenous suppliers of protective clothing in Harare to urban councils over the period January 2009 to December 2012. Other objectives were: to identify the challenges faced by indigenous suppliers of protective clothing, establish the cause of the challenges, find ways to overcome the challenges and make recommendations in light of the findings from the study. A sample of 105 participants was drawn from a population of 160. Simple random sampling method was used and two research instruments: the questionnaire and interview, were used to obtain the information. The research established that the indigenous suppliers of protective clothing to urban councils are not growing due to lack of funding, stiff competition from imported products which have flooded the local market, inadequate knowledge of financial management systems and late payment by the urban councils. The suggested solutions to challenges are a ban on imports, banks to provide long term loans, government to give assistance, training on good financial management, regular maintenance of machinery, and revival of the local clothing industry. The researcher recommends that the government should assist with adequate funding through Small Enterprise Development Corporation (SEDCO), banks to provide long term loans and reduce the high interest rate on loans for recapitalisation, training in financial management systems to be offered, urban councils to make early payment after the delivery of products and that the indigenous suppliers practise good corporate governance.