A survey on factors affecting the performance of women entrepreneurs in business growth : a case of Thika Municipality, Kenya
Njoroge, Beth Wanjiru
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Small and medium enterprises can play a key role in triggering economic growth and equitable development in Kenya. However this potential role is often not fulfilled because of particulars set of problems characterizing size. Women entrepreneurs operate in more difficult conditions than men entrepreneurs. The constraints that impede all entrepreneurs such as political instability, poor infrastructure, high production cost and non conducive business environment tend to impact more on business women than business men ILO AfBD (2004). This study is a descriptive survey that is designed to analyze the factors affecting the performance of women entrepreneurs in business. The target population was the micro and small scale women entrepreneurs who operate in Jamuhuri market of Thika municipality, Kenya. A questionnaire was used as a research instrument. Data collected was analyzes using the statistical package for social scientists (SPSS). The research found that majority of the women have attained a diploma (47%), while (31 %)have secondary education, but most of them lacked basic skills in running the businesses. Most of the businesses had only one employee and the start up capital less than Kshs 100,000. Majority of the respondents have not taken bank loans for fear of failure to repay the loans and the loans being very expensive. Among the factors contributing to positive growth of businesses are: good customer relations, personal marketing, offering quality services, good management skills keeping up with competitors and good networking. The factors contributing negatively to business growth were: high cost of electricity power, power interruptions, high rent, lack of training, lack of finance, unfair competition and high overhead costs. The recommendations given is that women should be given cheaper loans and be encouraged to train in business management and to engage in business networks that enable them to work as groups thus enjoying the benefits of large scale production.