Factors that influence the participation of women in formal business in Kenya: a case of Kimilili-Bungoma District
This study set out to establish the factors that influence the participation of women entrepreneurs in formal business in Kenya, a case of Kimilili-Bungoma District. Studies conducted in different parts of the world with regard to women entrepreneurs as is indicated in the literature, recognized women as being one of the most relevant untapped resources for entrepreneurship yet failed to bring out the issue of the participation of women in formal business. Women’s economic relevance and contributions is widely acknowledged that it will lead to sustainable development. This study determined how the participation of women in formal business was influenced by various factors such as social culture, legal environment, sources of finance and networking. A review on existing literature and research on women and business was done so as to address this women participation in formal business gap. This involved a secondary research on previous related literature on women entrepreneurs’ challenges in owning and operating businesses. A perceived conceptual framework to show the relationship between the dependent variable and independent variables was used in the study. The study was conducted using a descriptive survey design. The target population was 11,280 women doing formal business in Kimilili-Bungoma District. A total of 122 women respondents were the sample size for the study, which was selected through random sampling. 122 questionnaires were delivered to respondents; 116 (95%) were returned dully filled while 6 (4.9%) were not returned. Interview guide was also employed by the researcher to get more data from government officers in the Department of Social Services and Gender. A pilot study was conducted in the nearby Bungoma Central District that ascertained the validity and reliability of the research instruments. The received data was classified, summarized, coded and used the SPSS computer processing package for analysis. The findings were presented through, cross-tabulations, frequency tables and percentages. This study revealed that women participation in formal business was still influenced by social cultural factors, legal environment, sources of finance and the level of networking. The study findings were hoped to be useful in establishing a data bank of women entrepreneurs’ role models who are appreciated for their various successful contributions in community development. The study recommended to both the county and national government to establish women business offices, policy makers to step up entrepreneurship awareness campaigns so that women would enter formal business, take up WEF loans without fear, join a business network this is hoped that it would provide them with a spring board from where to improve and develop further to become successful in doing formal businesses. Further research should be carried on factors influencing women business networking, risky factors that affect women loan borrowing and factors that affect women franchising business.