owner but they did tend to either buy from or sell to the partner and they tended to be located
nearby. One of the key theoretical aspects of network forms of business and of industrial
districts was uncommon in our sample and, when it did occur, it had a commercial, rather
than social, glue.
(Table Three about here)
Over one-fourth of the businesses counted other businesses among their customers;
60 percent of those had other firms as steady customers. Businesses that counted firms
among their steady customers differed only in being slightly larger and slightly older on
average than the other sampled businesses. Of the 74 businesses with firms as steady
customers, approximately two-thirds (49) had state-owned enterprises as their most important
customer, suggesting the integration of small businesses into the state sector as suppliers and
support firms. Family members were the point of contact in 23 percent of the businesses that
were steady customers (including the state-owned enterprises), suggesting that their point of
contact helped arrange for the sale and that relatives with control over resources can be a
benefit for small businesses.
The interviewed owners had family relationships with less than 10 percent of
materials suppliers. That low prevalence didn’t hold for the sources of start-up capital. Forty
percent of the businesses borrowed funds to start the business. The sources of credit and the
materials suppliers tended not to be located nearby (within 500 meters). Individuals were the
source of choice but even when funds were borrowed from a formal credit organization, in
three-fourths of the cases, the contact person was an immediate family member or a relative.
This suggests that the business owners may receive privileged access to those funds and that
there may be a degree of favoritism in the granting of loans. From the point of view of the
focal business, socially embedding economic relationships serves to expand access to