Entrepreneurial characteristics among micro and small-scale women owned enterprises in North and Central Meru districts, Kenya

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Publication Date: 
01 January 2008
Gitile Naituli, Francis N Wegulo, Bertha Kaimenyi
UN Millennium Development Goal: 
Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
Promote gender equality and empower women

The role of the micro and small-scale enterprises (MSEs) sector in the development process has been at the center of development debate for the last three decades in Kenya and elsewhere in the developing world. Economic hardships experienced in the formal sector in Kenya and indeed in other developing countries have contributed to the enthusiasm now associated with the MSEs sector. Increasingly, the sector is perceived as a critical component in the creation of much needed skills, employment, and generation of livelihoods for a growing number of people within the urban as well as the rural sector. This paper seeks to contribute to this effort through examining entrepreneurial characteristics of women owned enterprises in Meru North and Meru Central districts in Kenya, and how these impact on the growth of these enterprises. The paper is based on an empirical survey conducted in randomly selected divisions of Meru North and Meru Central districts, which targeted 1,024 respondents, also randomly selected. In addition, key informants were purposively selected and interviewed to provide insights to the research problem. The data were analyzed to yield descriptive and inferential descriptors. Findings from this study show that entrepreneurial characteristics such as age, education, attitudes and perception have a significant relationship on the growth of micro and small-scale enterprises in the study area. Other characteristics that are critical to the growth of MSEs include start up capital, environment, both business and regulatory. The paper suggests that future development of MSEs especially those owned by women should be deliberately targeted and guided by clear policies, which are broad and holistic in their content and approach.