The National Treasury’s Cities Support Programme has partnered with the Ecosystem Development for Small Enterprise (EDSE) Programme to advance township economic development. The Township Economic Development (TED) Project is a three-year intervention of technical support to five metros to formulate, resource and implement an overarching TED strategy for a pilot site. The participating metros (and pilot townships) are the City of Tshwane (Hammanskraal), City of Ekurhuleni (Thembisa), eThekwini Metro (Pinetown South), Nelson Mandela Bay Metro (New Brighton) and City of Cape Town (Delft).

The TED Project will run from February 2020 to February 2023. The Project takes a spatial development approach, focusing on one township. The rationale for focusing on a specific area is the need to concentrate interventions for maximum impact and then utilize the learnings from the development process to be replicated in other townships.

Both the CSP and EDSE programmes recognise the importance of gender-sensitive approaches in interventions to support the small business ecosystem to ensure that womenowned businesses and female entrepreneurs are afforded equitable access to development opportunities. The TED project seeks to ensure that measures are advanced to redress the legacy of female exclusion and marginalisation within the township business ecosystem. The current paper provides a gendered consideration of the township economy, focusing on the position of male and female businesses and the impact of the business environment in enhancing and limiting opportunities for men and women. The research draws upon primary data obtained for the TED Project situational analysis.

This research brief aims to contribute towards greater awareness of the need for gender empowerment and a gender-sensitive approach to inclusive enterprise development programming, including specific interventions to enhance opportunities for women in specific sectors. This paper complements work completed by the EDSE Gender and Social Inclusion team, in particular a paper that looks critically at the need to enhance access to finance for women-owned enterprises.


Readers might wish to consult the various TED resources posted on the CSP’s Metro Township Economic Development Symposium (18-19 August 2021) conference page, here