The Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation has initiated the Formalising Informal Micro-Enterprises (FIME) Project. The FIME objective is to develop an understanding
of the obstacles that hinder the growth and formalisation of micro-enterprises situated in the informal economy in order to influence the policy environment and
at the same time to encourage greater industry support for micro-enterprise. The project has enabled SLF to undertake path-breaking research into the informal
economy of townships within the Western Cape, Gauteng and KwaZulu Natal.

This document provides a synopsis of the results of FIME endeavours to quantify the scope and scale of informal microenterprises. We understand informal
micro-enterprises as being very small businesses, which characteristically employ fewer than five persons, have capital assets of less than R100,000, operate informally and outside of regulatory frameworks. Many operate illegally, though the great majority sell legally manufactured products obtained from the formal economy.

Download pdf