FEMALE ENTREPRISE DEVELOPMENT (A Case study of graduate women in Nairobi)

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In recent years the subject of female entrepreneurship has attracted a lot of attention. The contributions made by female entrepreneurs to economies in terms of creation of new businesses and jobs; consequently spurring economic growth and reduction of levels poverty and unemployment have been recognized as invaluable.

Launched in 2008, Vision 2030 is Kenya’s development scheme aimed at changing the status of Kenya from a developing into a developed middle class country by the year 2030. The vision includes delivering an ambitious economic growth of 10 percent per annum, coupled with correcting the existing social and economic inequalities. Therefore, it is essential that the Kenyan government positions entrepreneurship and in this context female entrepreneurship at the center of its economic development agenda. Female entrepreneurs can make a significant contribution to the economic development in Kenya.

The primary objective of this study was to identify the obstacles women face at the start-up and development phases of their businesses with an aim to produce appropriate development services. A survey that included 120 graduate women in Nairobi was conducted.

The findings indicated that the obstacles encountered at the start-up and development stages of female owned enterprises are; access to finance, finding the right contacts and business networks, lack of entrepreneurship education, lack of management skills, lack of advice on how to start an enterprise, lack of mentoring and lack of business strategic planning.

This study proposes pragmatic and comprehensive recommendations to policy makers and other relevant stakeholders to address these obstacles. Better policies and initiatives need to be developed to create a more favorable business environment, in order to gain the full potential of women entrepreneurs in Kenya and as a consequently contribute to the economic prosperity of Kenya.

Key words: Female entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship, challenges, Nairobi County, graduate women, Vision 2030, Kenya.


            1.1       Background to female entrepreneurship
            1.2       Why study Female entrepreneurship
            1.3       Research objectives and research questions
            1.4       The Theoretical Framework
            1.5       Research design and method
            1.6       Structure of the research report
            1.7       Terms and Definitions

            2.1       The Entrepreneur and the Entrepreneurial process
            2.2       Female entrepreneurship
            2.3       Profile of female entrepreneur
            2.4       Challenges of a Female Entrepreneur
            2.5       Integrated framework for Women Entrepreneurs
            2.6       Promotion of female entrepreneurship in Finland
            2.7       Conclusion

3          CASE KENYA
            3.1       Introduction to Kenya
            3.2       PEST analysis
            3.3       Education system
            3.4       Financial System
            3.5       Female Entrepreneurship in Kenya

4          METHODOLOGY
            4.1       Research Objectives and Questions of the study
            4.2       Research design
            4.3       Population and sample of the study
            4.4       Research method
            4.5       The data collection procedure
            4.6       Data analysis
            4.7       Response to the survey
            4.8       Conclusion

            5.1       Profiles of the respondents
            5.2       Attitudes towards entrepreneurship
            5.3       Motivation for establishing an enterprise
            5.4       Obstacles
            5.5       Availability of resources
            5.6       Opinions
            5.7       Summary of key findings

6          CONCLUSION
            6.1       Revisiting objectives of the study
            6.2       Recommendations
            6.3       Limitations of the study
            6.4       Research implications
            6.5       Recommendations for further studies

7          SUMMARY
8          REFERENCES

An economy cannot, without active steps being taken, maintain its size or grow. In order to create economic growth, extra steps are necessary and the creation and growth of firms are a very important part of this process.

One of the economic goals of a government is to improve the lives of its citizens by raising the competitiveness of the economy and creating opportunities that empower people to earn a sustainable income. In this line of thought, The Government of Kenya has developed a development blueprint called The Vision 2030. The goal of the Vision is to transform Kenya from a developing country into middle income and industrialized nation, through provision of quality life to all the Kenyans by 2030”. The Vision is based on three pillars namely: the social, economic, and the political pillar (The Ministry of planning, 2008).

One of the goals of the economic pillar is to improve the prosperity of all Kenyans through an economic program that covers all the counties of Kenya. The Vision also aims to achieve an average Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate of 10% per annum beginning in 2012 for a consecutive period of 25 years (Ministry of planning, 2008).

Entrepreneurship is considered by many researchers and economists as a major contributing factor to the growth of an economy. The small, medium and large businesses play a significant role in terms of job creation, market competitiveness, innovation and the promotion of industrial development has been recognised by both academics and policy makers (Beck et al 2005, Thurik and Wennekers 1999, Ayyagari et al 2003 and World Bank 2003). In pursuit of this mission of delivering the ambitious economic growth of 10 percent per Annum, coupled with correcting the existing social and economic inequalities, it is essential that the Kenyan government places entrepreneurship at the center of its economic development agenda. OECD (2012) acknowledges that, fostering entrepreneurship is a key policy goal for governments in most countries. There are high expectations that high rates of entrepreneurial activity are avenues of sustained employment generation.

In the spirit of entrepreneurship, it is essential to acknowledge that women also are significant drivers of economic growth. In the latter part of the 20th century, women’s entry into the workforce has helped drive most of the world’s developed economies. Today, women in the developing economies are poised to have a similar impact upon their economies, but this can only happen , if they can be educated, equipped and empowered (Women’s Economic Opportunity 2012). Kenya is a developing country that can and should exploit the untapped resources of women through among other routes, entrepreneurship.

Women entrepreneurs can make significant contributions to the economic development in Kenya. In acknowledging the importance of women entrepreneurs in the creation of a vibrant and dynamic economy, the Kenyan Government has taken some positive steps in promoting women entrepreneurship towards realizing Kenya’s Vision 2030. The government of Kenya has developed a range of measures to try to tackle vulnerable groups that include the women and unemployed youth among others in Kenya. Under the Vision 2030, funds allocated with more efficiency and transparency, are anticipated to play a key and enhanced role in correcting the existing economic and social inequalities in the vulnerable groups.

1.1      Background to female entrepreneurship

The theory linking entrepreneurship to economic growth derives from simple logic and economics, in the sense that, activities that translate ideas into commercial opportunities can be found at the very heart of entrepreneurship.

In both developed and developing economies, entrepreneurship is considered crucial to fostering economic and social development. Entrepreneurship contributes significantly to the growth of an economy (Wennekers et al 1999:27).

The role of female entrepreneurs in the economic development process has been recognized globally. Today, in the world of business, female entrepreneurship has become a necessary force in many countries. The OECD (2004) revealed that...

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