Credit and investments by micro and small scale enterprises: a study of women traders in Busia town.
Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) are a critical sector of Kenya's trade activities both in the urban and rural areas. Available evidence on MSEs in Kenya demonstrates that women traders' activities such as clothing, textiles and design, wholesale and retail outlets, food and allied products and small-scale service industries dominate. Women MSE trade activities are among business undertakings withpotential for the country's increased incomes and poverty reduction. Whether the sector actualises this prospective role is subject to the extent to which credit accessed by the women enterprise-owners is able to result into investment in the MSEs. Credit has been known to be among women MSE's greatest tool for business and indeed some women do access credit. This study explores the extent to which credit results into women MSE investments. In so doing, this paper examined both quantitative and qualitative primary data collected from a census, sample survey of MSEs women traders and key informant interviews in Busia town, Kenya. The study objectives cross-examined the individual MSE and its owner's characteristics, nature of credit, kinds of investments generated in the !viSEs and the contribution of credit to the investment. Through the analysis of the survey data, the study established that women with credit have been able to generate investment in their enterprises. The findings ascertained that credit does result into MSE investment. However the investment seems limited andfeasible mostly in low capital value assets. Conclusion arrived at indicates that credit combined with improved women enterprise owners business skills, supportive institutions, and policies that permit increased investment, would assist women MSE to maximise on their business investment potential. The study recommends the augmentation of business development skills, reinforcement of policy and institutions which would in effect strengthen women MSE credit's assured and effective use in MSEs investment.
CitationA Thesi~ submitted in part fulfilment for the Degree of Master of Arts in the Department of Development studies,University of Nairobi.