A conceptual framework for success factors required for a South African SME foundry.
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South Africa has witnessed an unprecedented decline in the number of foundries over the past four decades, with literature reflecting that there has been about 73 percent reduction in the number of foundries in South Africa in this period. The purpose of this research is to investigate the contribution of four sets of factors, which are: entrepreneur’s individual characteristics, internal non-individual factors, external-non individual factors, and operational approaches of a foundry as definitive of success. The research also sought to establish intervention measures that could be implemented to make these foundries more sustainable. Through hypothesis testing, the research also sought to establish relationships between the four sets of factors and intervention measures. The target population was 117 small and medium enterprise foundries in South Africa. Sample sizes were 303 participants for the quantitative strands and 11 participants for the qualitative strand. Judgemental purposive sampling was employed for the qualitative strand and cluster sampling for quantitative strand. Two questionnaires were the only tools used for collecting data, one personally administered for the qualitative strand, and another administered online for the quantitative strand. Convergent mixed methods approach was employed, where both qualitative and quantitative data was collected, analysed, and compared to identify where the two strands converged. The factors upon which the two data strands converged were accepted as the success factors required to effectively run an SME foundry in South Africa. Structural equation modelling and thematic analysis were used for data analysis of quantitative and qualitative strands respectively. It was verified that intervention measures had a positive relationship with the entrepreneur’s individual characteristics, external non-individual characteristics, and operations approach of SME foundries. The hypothesis of a relationship between intervention measures and internal non- individual characteristics of a foundry was not supported, hence it was rejected. Ultimately, a framework outlining the success factors and intervention measures required as well as their relationships was postulated. This research contributes to the novel knowledge on success factors required to run SME foundries through the suggested framework. In the penultimate, recommendations and suggestions for future studies are proffered.