Female Entrepreneurship in Kenya: How do Female Micro-Entrepreneurs Learn to be Entrepreneurial?

Milcah Wavinya Mulu-Mutuku, Dolphine Odero-Wanga, Adijah Ali-Olubandwa


There is renewed interest in female entrepreneurship as policy makers recognize the importance of social inclusiveness in economic development. Women’s involvement in entrepreneurship is applauded as a necessary precursor to economic growth of developing nations despite women under-representation among business owners. Many factors have been blamed for this under-representation among them, socialisation and lack of motivation in choosing entrepreneurship as a career option. In Kenya, women entrepreneurs have low levels of education; are in need of business knowledge and skills yet unable to pay for business development services; and are affected strongly by patriarchal structures especially the role of husbands. Yet, some few women own growing businesses that contribute towards wealth and employment creation. This study sought to determine how women learn to be entrepreneurial and to establish hindrances to female entrepreneurial learning process. A survey was conducted on 106 women micro-entrepreneurs in the Kenyan dairy processing industry. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews and analysed using descriptive statistics. Findings showed that majority (76.9%) of the micro-entrepreneurs went into business without any prior business skills. Only 5.5% of them had training in business-related fields before starting their businesses. Another 17.6% had learnt some business skills from previous employment. Social contacts and relations were important sources of business knowledge and skills for 68.7% of them. Rarely did the respondents engage in active search of business knowledge and skills. Probably an entrepreneurship development curriculum weaved through the entire school syllabus would help in entrenching an enterprising culture among women.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/csbm.v2i1.6809


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