An analysis of external support on the growth of women owned micro enterprises: a survey of women enterprises in Thika Municipality
The purpose of this study was to analyze the impact of fi'nancial and non financial services on the quality and quantity of women owned enterprises in Thika Municipality as well as the concerns of the women entrepreneurs and providers of the services about the females. The study was guided by the following objectives: to establish the mix of financial and nonfinancial services women in micro enterprises receive from stakeholders, to assess the impact of external support on women owned enterprises in Thika Municipality and to find out the experiences and constraints of women entrepreneurs in seeking the services. The literature review comprised of the SME sector in Kenya, SME contribution to job creation in Kenya, characteristics and traits of entrepreneursﾷ, experience and entrepreneurship, risk taking, management skills, barriers and constraints women entrepreneurship. The theoretical framework was based on the feminist theory, Theory of poverty by Muhammad Yunus and David Mclleland achievement orientation model. The study adopted both descriptive and exploration survey designs. The target population comprised all the women entrepreneurs in SMEs in the following areas: textile and tailoring, retail, hospitality, services and vendorslhawkers. Questionnaires, interview schedules and observation guide were used as instruments for data collection. Descriptive statistics such as frequencies and percentages were used to analyze the data. On the mix of financial and non financial services, the study found that 61 % of the respondents indicated that the credit services were difficult to access and that there was limited access to loans as evidenced by the fact that 65% of the respondents who indicated that they had borrowed less than 20,000ksh since they started their business. On the access to non financial services, 67% of the respondents indicated that they did not receive nonfinancial services such as financial and entrepreneurial training, capacity building on financial services, records maintenance, and business risk taking, loan management, marketing strategies and advertisement procedures. Among the external factors which affected women enterprises included the conditions for receiving loans as indicated by 99%. In terms of efforts by the Government of Kenya and other stakeholders in their attempt to empower women economically, 54% indicated that they were not aware of such efforts. Among the major constraints in seeking external services was inaccessibility to finances for business expansion as indicated by all respondents (100%) and inadequate skills and knowledge on business management as indicated 90% of the respondents. From the findings of the study, it was concluded that there was difficulty in the access to financial and non financial services among women entrepreneurs which is perceived to be a major challenge in their expansion and growth. It was also concluded that external support affected women enterprises through the conditions for access of loans. The study finally concluded that most of women having enterprises were not aware of the efforts made by the government, and other stakeholders in their attempt to empower women economically. The study recommended that government, and other stakeholders should come up with policies which will favour the growth of women enterprises. The study recommended that another study be carried out to investigate the challenges facing the management of women enterprises which was not the focus of this study.