A socio-cultural analysis of factors influencing gender participation in informal sector business: the case of Kangemi market and its environs,Nairobi
Musyoki, Kalekye G
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The purpose of this study was to examine factors influencing gender participation 111 informal micro-enterprises, growth of entrepreneurship and their contributions to income generation at household levels and subsequent alleviation of poverty. The specific objectives were to assess and document the development of informal microenterprises in Kangemi, Nairobi; identify the socio-cultural factors influencing entrepreneur participation in these enterprises; determine the cost-effectiveness of informal micro-enterprises for poverty alleviation among the low-income groups in Kangemi and determine choice and sources of credit by micro-entrepreneurs. It was hypothesized that the findings from this study could have implications for decision making and policy makers targeting small business entrepreneurs in informal micro-enterprises from a socio-cultural perspective. The increasing number of groups of low-income micro-entrepreneurs in Kangemi has been due to rural-urban migration and urban-to-urban center migration within Nairobi. This has led to population increase, lack of employment and the need to engage oneself in some economic activity for household survival. Social and cultural dimensions of a community may influence the kind of business development and motivations attitudes of individuals in informal micro-enterprises. Nonetheless, little is known about the factors that determine choice and participation decisions in the sector. Two groups of low-incorne-rn icroentrepreneurs, namely low-income informal traders from rural areas and those residing in Kangerni have found it convenient to trade in Kangemi. -.. Data were obtained from randomly selected various informal micro-enterprises found 111 Kangerni market and its environs. A list of informal micro-entrepreneurs was obtained from "Kangemi Market Register" kept by the market management and 380 potential traders were purposively selected. A systematic random sampling procedure was t~l-n used to select the potential respondents numbering 95. Data were analyzed for 85 respondents as 10 questionnaires had missing data. A descriptive analysis of the data collected on factors influencing gender participation in informal sector business in Kangemi found the enterprises profitable and cost-effective for small scale business ~ntrepreneurs to engage in and that these groups were in the informal micro-enterprises to generate income and support their families. Over 97% and 64% of both men and women were greatly influenced by social and cultural factors respectively.