Factors influencing women participation in entrepreneurial activities in Kasikeu division Makueni county
The purpose of the research was to investigate the factors influencing women participation in entrepreneurial activities in Kasikeu Division Makueni County. This was necessitated by the fact that Women entrepreneurs and their businesses is a rapidly growing segment of the business population in Kenya creating a variety of new ventures and contributing to the development of a range of services and products. Nevertheless, the share of women entrepreneurship in Kenya is still significantly low when comparing women‘s participation rate to that of their men counterparts. The study therefore was guided by the following research objectives: To establish the influence of entrepreneurial skills on women participation in entrepreneurial activities; establish the influence of access to finance on women participation in entrepreneurial activities; establish the influence of demographic characteristics on women participation in entrepreneurial activities; and determine the influence of social characteristics on women participation in entrepreneurial activities in Kasikeu division Makueni County. It was based on the theory of planned Behavior. It adopted census method in studying the 58 businesses registered under women in Kasikeu Division Makueni County .Questionnaires were the data collection instruments. To establish reliability of research instruments, the Cronbach‘s coefficient alpha model was used whose figure stood at .712 showing reliability, while to establish validity of the instruments, the supervisor from Nairobi University examined the content of the instruments. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics, regression and correlation and presented in tables. The results show that entrepreneurial skills, access to finance, demographic characteristics and social factors, had a significant influence on women participation in entrepreneurial activities in Kasikeu division Makueni County. The study therefore recommends that: women entrepreneurs should engage in informal entrepreneurial education to help them get the prerequisite skills to effectively participate in entrepreneurial activities. The County Government of Makueni through the Department of Commerce should initiate the training programs and facilitate its implementation. Further, women entrepreneurs should be made aware of the banks and microfinance institutions‘ lending policies and opportunities for SMEs to allow the women take full advantage of loans. They should be sensitized on current lax lending policies to help them get rid of the negative perception about banks and microfinance institutions. Women entrepreneurs should continually effectively do good and profitable businesses to dispel any doubt on their competence based on their gender, age, experience and education. As noted earlier, they should take any opportunity to get additional entrepreneurial training. Women entrepreneurs should continue to seek the available support from their families and friends. They should further themselves encourage other upcoming women entrepreneurs to actively participate in entrepreneurial activities.