Influence of women enterprise fund on initiation of women owned retail enterprises in Saboti constituency, Transnzoia Kenya
Youth unemployment has continued to be a major developmental problem facing Kenya hence The Women Enterprise Fund (WEF), a Kenya Government Initiative aims to develop and grow women-owned Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). Eight years since its inception, it is imperative to establish whether the Fund is achieving its objectives in influencing initiation of the women owned retail enterprises. The study was guided by four objectives: Examine the influence of training on initiation of women owned retail enterprises in Saboti Constituency, to examine the influence of legislations on initiation of women owned retail enterprises in Saboti Constituency, assess the influence of the loan size on initiation of women owned retail enterprises in Saboti Constituency and establish the level of education on initiation of women owned retail enterprises. The study findings gave valuable information to stakeholders involved in promotion of women owned enterprises, challenges faced will be understood, information will act as literature review for future academicians as well as the achievement of some of the key pillars of the vision 2030. The study adopted the entrepreneurial supply theory. Similarly the study utilized a descriptive survey design. The study sample comprised of 286 women in Self Help Groups in Saboti constituency, the WEF field officers and the regional credit coordinator. The study also used questionnaires for the women in Self Help Groups and an in-depth interview (IDIs) for the WEF officers. The instruments validation exercise was done by the supervisor. Reliability of the instruments was determined through a pilot study where a Cronbach alpha co-efficient of 0.76 was obtained for women owned retail enterprises questionnaires. This indicated that the instruments were reliable. Frequency distributions and percentages were used in the analysis of quantitative data. For qualitative data, inferences were objectively and systematically made and used in summarizing of findings. The study established that the WEF trainings on how to initiate businesses only targeted group officials hence leaving out other members that could benefit more from such trainings. This impacted negatively on the other members of the group. Majority of the women owned enterprises got between Kshs 30,000 and Kshs 40,000 as a loan from WEF which was considered not enough to initiate a business. It also established that the condition by WEF that all applications must be subjected to rigorous financial viability assessment by the Constituency WEF Committee is a major factor as to why women owned enterprises find it hard to access loans to initiate businesses. The study further established that majority of the women entrepreneurs had secondary or college level of education while all the men who had access to the credit for business initiation had secondary, college or tertiary education. The study therefore concluded that WEF plays a very important role in the initiation of many of the women owned retail enterprises. The study recommends that there should be some enhanced and standardized training for all the members who intend to initiate women owned retail enterprises. The maximum loan amount should be increased since the amounts of funds allocated to borrowers fall far below the actual financial business initiation needs. The loans should be remodeled towards more of individual lending than group lending since at enterprise initiation members in a group cannot have the same thinking level, attitude and commitment as there are personal differences. It is hoped that, the findings of this study will assist the government policy makers to focus more on WEF as a means of promoting initiation of women owned retail enterprises as means of uplifting the socio-economic status of women in Kenya.