Factors influencing the growth of women owned microenterprises within Meru Municipality, Imenti North District, Kenya
Mbaabu, Julia K
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There is global recognition that micro and small enterprises (MSEs) have become major engines of growth in many national and local economies. The number of women owned businesses continues to grow year on year. Much progress has been made in raising awareness and increasing women's visibility in business. However attention of policy makers must now turn to women owned micro and small enterprises to ensure that their contribution to economic growth is progressive and that their access to entrepreneurship is not hampered in any way. The purpose of this study was to assess the factors influencing the growth of micro enterprises owned by women entrepreneurs within the Meru municipality. This study was a descriptive research by use of survey. The design was selected because it is very versatile, particularly in collecting primary data. The study focused on micro-enterprises owned by women entrepreneurs within the Meru Municipality. The Municipal Council of Meru has registered approximately 1200 microenterprises. Of these enterprises, 329 are owned by women entrepreneurs. This formed the target population. A simple systematic random sampling was used to take a sample from the target population. A sample of 167 microenterprises (50% of the target population) was selected. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics and presented using frequency Tables. The study findings reveal majority (53.7%) of the women had not attended any form of seminar/training to supplement their basic education. Female entrepreneurs utilized their own finance for their business and were not able to access finance from banks or financial institutions due to high interest rates and loan approval bureaucracies. Majority (70.6%) of the women had been affected by family responsibilities resulting from the observation that women entrepreneurs had a heavier household financial burden than men which further complicate their lives. The study recommends that financial institutions should ease the administrative procedures for the establishment of women-owned businesses. Furthermore, an entrepreneurial culture needs to be fostered for women through education and management training. Further research is required to explore into financial institutions and their policy towards assisting women entrepreneurs in accessing finance.