Factors influencing performance of women entrepreneurs in rural Kenya, a case of Kitui Town
Munyao, Sharon S
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Women playa crucial role in the economic development of their families and communities but certain obstacles such poverty, unemployment, low household income and societal discrimination mostly in developing countries have hindered their effective performance in that role. As such most of them embark on entrepreneurial activities to support their families. Women entrepreneurship could be an effective strategy for poverty reduction in a country, since women are the most hints in the situation. However, it is discovered that women entrepreneurs especially in developing countries do not have easy access to funds/capital, trading policies do not favor them, have heavier household financial and time burden, training on business management is very minimal and thus have low business performance than their male counterparts, where as the rate of their participation in the informal sector of the economy is higher than males. The objective of the study was to examine the effects of financial availability, women training on business management, legal and regulatory policies faced by women entrepreneurs and women heavier household financial and time burden on performance of women entrepreneurs in rural Kenya. The study involved a survey using structured questionnaire and an in depth interviews to solicit responses from women entrepreneurs and secondary data from micro finance institution, municipal council and district development of in kitui district. This study established that large proportions of women entrepreneurs operate as informal enterprises, and thus are unable to access loans, obtain credit, or access markets. Despite the availability of commercial banks, which have micro finance programmes, women entrepreneurs do not get loans because of lack collateral, high interest rates, lengthy and vigorous procedures for loan applications. It has been revealed that all most women entrepreneurs pay license and permits to the municipal council. Legal and regulatory policies have been costly thus impending growth of enterprise. The findings shows that half of women entrepreneurs do not have training on business management and the few who have knowledge on operations and other business skills acquired them from on job trainings and workshops mostly provided through donor funding through the women groups they have formed. However, the training lack follow-up and advisory support services and are given by male trainers. Women in general should be empowered through education. Actions which underpin women's ability to access economic resources and business opportunities should be waved away. Business licensing and registration processes should be streamlined and registration barriers faced by women in informal enterprises addressed. Efforts should be made to increase the supply of credit for the development and growth of women's enterprises. Women MSEs are quite entrepreneurial and need to be supported to grow and expand.