Challenges Facing Women Entrepreneurs in Africa -A Case of Kenyan Women Entrepreneurs
Kyalo, Teresia Ngina
Kiganane, Lucy Maina
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Entrepreneurship is the engine of economic growth and wheel that pedal the vehicle of economic development and has been recognized for its importance in the area of job creation, revenue generation, poverty alleviation and wealth creation [1-3] Following this, it is now identified as the central element in the theory of economic development and it makes up the largest business sector in economies [4,5]. It involves a willingness to rejuvenate market offerings, innovate, risks taking, trying out of new and uncertain products, services and markets and being more proactive than competitors towards exploring new business opportunities [6, 7]. It attracts both men and women who are interested in profitable inter-industry relationship. Women account for significant percent of the operators of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) [5, 8]. Women entrepreneurs make a substantial contribution to national economies through their participation in start-ups and their growth in small and medium businesses . This paper looks at the challenges facing women entrepreneurs in Africa as entrepreneurship is regarded to be a male activity . The main variables investigated were: demographic factors such as personal background, education and experience; social networks; and access to finance. The exploratory and descriptive research designs were adopted. Questionnaires were used as a tool of data collection. Stratified sampling method was used to get 130 respondents from Kenya. Data was analyzed using the SPSS (Statistical Package for Social Studies). Chi-square, ttest and logistic regression were used. Findings of the study revealed that demographic factors and social networks were the main challenges facing women entrepreneurs. However, access to finance was found not a major challenge as women entrepreneurs were found to prefer internal sources of financing. Recommendations based on these findings were: women empowerment, training and sharing of information, provision of networks to enable marketing, provision of working areas near home location because of family reasons, building of self-confidence and esteem, risk taking training to improve formal market credits and thus grow their enterprises.