Original Research

The impact of SME access to finance and performance on exporting behaviour at firm level: A case of furniture manufacturing SMEs in Zimbabwe

Kin Sibanda, Progress Hove-Sibanda, Herring Shava
Acta Commercii | Vol 18, No 1 | a554 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ac.v18i1.554 | © 2018 Kin Sibanda, Progress Hove-Sibanda, Herring Shava | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 September 2017 | Published: 28 June 2018

About the author(s)

Kin Sibanda, Department of Economics, University of Fort Hare, South Africa
Progress Hove-Sibanda, Department of Transport Economics and Logistics, North-West University, South Africa
Herring Shava, Department of Business Management, University of Fort Hare, South Africa


Orientation: Globally, the majority of Small and Medium-sized entities (SMEs) are resource constrained. As a result, not all SMEs are able to fully exploit the benefits associated with international trade as they face challenges when exporting their produce.

Research purpose: This article presents an investigation into the impact of access to finance on firm performance and exporting behaviour of SMEs in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Motivation for the study: The article stems from the observation that although there is a growing importance and contribution of SMEs worldwide, research has shown that only a few of these SMEs are involved in international trade.

Research design, approach and method: A cross-sectional study was employed with quantitative methods being utilised. The collected data were analysed using a structural equation modelling technique, which employed the Smart partial least squares software (version 2.0).

Main findings: The key findings reveal that a significant positive relationship between access to finance and SMEs exporting behaviour does exist. Furthermore, the study’s findings challenge the notion that firm performance has a significant impact on exporting behaviour and show a negative impact of access to finance on SME firm performance.

Practical/managerial implications: There is a need to put systems in place in Zimbabwe that that will (1) prioritise the need to have clear routes to market and increase awareness among SME owners, and (2) help SMEs overcome high costs associated with participating in export of goods and services.

Contribution/value-add: The article provides a unique empirical analysis of the relationship that exists between access to finance, firm performance and export behaviour of SME firms in Zimbabwe, and thereby makes a valid contribution to SME literature.


access to finance; trade; export behaviour


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