The phenomenon of the Triple Helix system has been recognised widely in developed countries . However, in
Southern Africa's developing countries, the significance of how Triple Helix agents can influence product
innovation has been largely overlooked. Hence, this study's main goal is to tackle this research gap.This article
examines the connection between university, industry and government as a mechanism for improving the
performance of small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs).This study also proposed that product innovation is
a vital moderating factor of this relationship.A quantitative research approach has been used for this study. A
structured questionnaire was developed and administered to 250 SME managers within the Johannesburg
metropolitan area of South Africa. The collected data were analysed utilising structural equation modelling
utilizing the Smart PLS software.SME Collaboration with Universities, SME Collaboration with Industry and
SME Collaboration with Government Agents had a positive and a significant influence on product innovation. A
strong positive relationship was also found between product innovation and business performance. Moreover,the
association between the triple helix agents and business performance was significantly moderated by product
innovation. These results lead to widening the scope of academic discourse in the fields of entrepreneurship and
small business management, especially from a South African view, and the relationships identified have
significant practical c
universities, Industry, government agents, product innovation; business performance
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