According to the South African Small Business Act No. 102 of 1996 Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) are regarded as separate small business entities owned by one or more owners; operating in various sectors of the national economy. SMMEs play a significant role in contributing to the South African economy, particularly by means of providing employment opportunities and assisting in the equal distribution of wealth. Albeit the latter prior research reveals that 80% of SMMEs do not survive beyond their first five years of existence. Plausible reasons for the latter include the influence of micro-economic factors and macro-economic factors; resulting in direct, inevitable risks being placed on the overall existence of SMMEs. In order to identify and manage these risks, SMMEs need to make use of adequate risk management strategies. More often than not a risk management strategy should eliminate and/or mitigate risks and provide reasonable assurance that business objectives will be achieved in the foreseeable future. To assist in the attainment of the latter, combined assurance initiatives should be used since it is believed to enhance both the understanding and treatment of risks; providing management with optimum assurance that its relevant objectives will be met in the foreseeable future. Stemming from the above, the perception was formulated that SMMEs do not have adequate risk management strategies in place due to the lack of combined assurance initiatives. This research study consisted of survey research whereby 30 questionnaires were collected from SMME management (i.e. owners and/or managers) all of whom had to adhere to a strict set of delineation criteria. It was found that SMMEs make use of semi-formal risk management strategies to mitigate and/or eliminate risks which are somewhat effective, but applicable risks are not optimally managed due to a lack of ample combined assurance initiatives.
small and very small enterprises, risk management, risk management strategies, risk, assurance, combined assurance