Investigation of Factors that Influence the Participation of Women Entrepreneurs in Small-Scale Enterprises: A Case Study of Machakos District.
The field of small-scale enterprises has been acknowledged as one of the ways through which the standard of living of many people, especially in the developing world can be improved. It has become apparent that many women in Kenya are getting involved in small-scale enterprises making it neccessary for more studies to be conducted in this area. This study took the form of a survey where an interview schedule and an observational checklist were used as methods of obtaining data. The target group was women operating their own small-scale enterprises or those of their families in Machakos District. The study sample was drawn from women entrepreneurs in three divisions of Machakos District which were, Central, Kathiani and Mwala. A study sample of 90 women was randomly selected from the three divisions. Out of this number, 84 women were interviewed. The data were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics. Tables were used for data presentation in chapter four. The findings revealed that the majority of the respondents were married middle- aged women. A good number of them had some secondary school education and small family according to Kenyan standards. However, many of the respondents had other other than their own children and a dependants fairly high percentage of them headed their respective households. The results of the study indicated that a majority of the respondents got into business as a means of earning a living. In the process of starting up their enterprises the respondents experienced the problem of raising the initial capital mainly because they had to raise this from personal savings. Subjects taught in the formal system of education did not seem to have been helpful in the operation of the enterprises except mathematics. The respondents who operated businesses that required some skill such as tailoring, received their training from sources other than the formal school system. Very few relationships were significant between personal and business characteristics. Those that were significant included the relationship between age of the respondents and the duration of operation and the relationship between type of training and business activity (p=O.0005, p=O.00008 respectively).