A study of the factors influencing growth of small scale enterprises owned/operated by women entrepreneurs : a case of Oyugis Township, Rachuonyo District
Otieno, Eliud Ochieng
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Entrepreneurship is a convenient source of consumers' need satisfaction and an occupation. Studies show that women entrepreneurs have been identified as a major force for innovation and job creation. McCormick (1998) postulated that women have traditionally played an important role in the SSEs sector as owners, managers and workers. She further asserts that women dominate important sub sectors, making up considerable percentages of the employees in the textile, clothing and leather production, in food and processing. According to Buttner and Holly, (1998) women have been initiating and starting their own business in unprecedented numbers in recent years. However, it appears that only a small part of entrepreneurial motivations is acknowledged as gender-based (Bush1990). Musinga, (1994), opines that women-owned enterprises provide more employment than men-owned and as such carries the potential to create viable occupation for the ever-increasing women population in Kenya. This study therefore sought to investigate the factors that influence the growth of SSEs, which are owned or operated by women-entrepreneurs, in Kenya generally and Oyugis Township in particular. The study aimed; to determine factors that motivate women into entrepreneurship; to find out factors that affect growth of women-owned enterprises; to identify strategies for growth of these enterprises and to provide policy recommendations that would encourage growth of women owned businesses in Kenya. The study is expected be useful to the women entrepreneurs, to the government and other policy institutions, and for other scholars. A descriptive research design was used for the study where the target population comprised 637 women entrepreneurs, who had been licensed by the town council as at 2006. Stratified random sampling was then used followed by simple random sampling of 10% on each stratum - commercial, manufacturing and service sectors - to get a sample size of 64 women participants. The study used questionnaires as the main data collection tool, which was administered through two research assistants after a pilot study. Descriptive and inferential Statistics were used in data analysis to determine factor correlations and to draw conclusions on characteristics of the population based on sample data. Findings revealed that unemployment; retrenchment / retirement; need to supplement income; desire to continue family business; death / loss of husband and the need to satisfy customer's demand among others are the main factors motivating women into entrepreneurship. Analysis of elements of growth showed slow growth in the SSEs owned or operated by women. Factors which influence this type of growth were found to include; access to credit from the increasing number financial institutions, multiple roles that the women play other than business activities, business training, savings mobilization, cultural perceptions and implementation of small - scale enterprise policies. The study recommends that microfinancial institutions should enhance the creation of awareness on the availability of loan facilities and their lending conditions. This will enable more access to start up capital and finance for expansion and growth. The women entrepreneurs should enhance good customer relation through providing good quality products and service; Plough back profits to the business to facilitate expansion; Sell on cash term; and increase commitment to work on the enterprises.