Formalising Informal Micro-Enterprises (FIME)

The FIME project pioneered new research methodology on South Africa’s informal township economy. The SLF project team developed and applied the small-area census method to document all economic activities in 9 townships. Over 10,000 businesses were recorded, while in depth surveys were conducted with over 3000 firms. The project employed a range of innovative and creative research approaches, including ethnographic surveys, artifact collection, participatory photovoice and spatial analysis.

The findings from FIME were documented in a series of research briefs, academic publications, visual narratives and video stories. The project substantially contributed to improving knowledge on the South African informal economy. This research has helped to highlight the obstacles and challenges, as well as policy barriers, hindering small business growth. The project has directly contributed to the post-graduate academic advancement, at the honours and masters level, of several South African researcher assistants.

Location:Delft, Browns Farm, Sweet Home Farm, Vrygrond, Imizamo Yethu (Cape Town), KwaMashu (eThekwini), Ivory Park (Johannesburg), Thembisa (Ekurhuleni), and Thabong (Welkom)Duration:2010-2016Partners:SAB, UWC African Centre for Citizenship, Participate

Project outputs and resources

South Africa’s Informal Economy – Reaearch Findings from 9 Townships. Review of Activities, Achievements and Impacts of the Formalising Informal Micro-Enterprises Project, 2010-2013

Street Life in Ivory Park. A Photovoice project.