Original Research

Special purpose acquisition companies as a vehicle for providing venture capital to small and medium size enterprise

Ben Marx, Ahmed Mohammadali Haji, Ilse Botha, Boniswa Madikizela, Thabiso Madiba
Journal of Economic and Financial Sciences | Vol 14, No 1 | a629 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jef.v14i1.629 | © 2021 Ben Marx, Ahmed M. Haji, Ilse Botha, Boniswa Madikizela, Thabiso Madiba | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 November 2020 | Published: 23 June 2021

About the author(s)

Ben Marx, Department of Accountancy, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Ahmed Mohammadali Haji, Department of Accountancy, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Ilse Botha, Department of Accountancy, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Boniswa Madikizela, Department of Accountancy, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Thabiso Madiba, Department of Accountancy, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa


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Abstract

Orientation: The South African economy is currently at one of its lowest points in several decades, with low economic growth, coronavirus challenges and unemployment being at an all-time high. This is further aggravated by the many challenges the economy faces, such as the lack of public sector programs to stimulate sustainable growth and a private sector mind-set that lacks business confidence and investment.

Motivation of study: A SPAC is an innovative financial structure that aims to raise funds in capital markets with the purpose of acquiring an unknown exiting company, using the funds as finance, within a limited time period. Special purpose SPACs focusing on SMEs with additional criteria and incentives might prove to be a valuable vehicle that provides funding to stimulate economic growth, kick start the second economy and erode unemployment in South Africa.

Research purpose: The objective of this article was to provide an overview of a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) as a vehicle to fund future business operations and, further, to explore the opportunities that it may provide to the South African economy to stimulate growth in the second economy and small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector.

Research approach/ design and method: This article follows a qualitative research design with an exploratory approach.

Findings and contribution: Research on SPACs internationally and in South Africa is scarce and this article makes a significant contribution to the existing body of knowledge. The findings indicate that the financial measures show underperformance of SPACs relative to some traditional financial measures.

Practical implications: Non-financial considerations are important in considering the value that SPACs can bring to the ailing South African economy. Special purpose acquisition companies also provide opportunities to those informal sectors, which would never be able to get access to funding and formal markets in other ways.


Keywords

special purpose acquisition companies; viable acquisition; Johannesburg stock exchange (JSE); small and medium-sized enterprise; venture capital

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