Female Entrepreneurs Remain At The Micro Scale Level Business Essay

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It is common sight to see shops opened in front of Ghanaian homes with diverse enterprises ranging from merchandising of groceries, confectionaries, fabrics and drugs through to small scale production of garments and consumables. Often engaged in this type of enterprise are women of various ages, education and ethnic persuasions.

Encouraging entrepreneurship has become an accepted wisdom in economic management and government policy. Governments the world over have realized this and are involved in diverse strategies to promote it. Ranging from policy, education, provision of finance and various innovative ways to encourage entrepreneurship, individuals including females are venturing into enterprise.

It is widely documented that the current and developing modern economy is one in which the traditional corporate culture is being eroded, and replaced, by a faster, more flexible small firms sector (Coulson-Thomas, 1999; Keogh, 2002; Timmons, 1999).

The above accounts for the growing number of small businesses and the growing interest of females likewise to engage in enterprise. It is also a widely accepted facts that most of the new business ventures started, fold up within two years. This has raised questions to the suitability of various personality traits, knowledge and skills for entrepreneurship. Traditionally, business management was the knowledge thought in schools but this has seen a dramatic turn for the past three decades. There are more university and other institutions today teaching entrepreneurship as a course and even as majors in growing numbers. Though there is not an established relationship between formal education in entrepreneurship and success in enterprise, it is accepted that, there exist some commonalities that makes some entrepreneurs succeed while others do not. Most female home enterprise owners in Ghana can be observed to operate at the same micro level for long and most often fizzle out after several years and thus never grow into large enterprises.

The adult female literacy rate in Ghana is estimated at 65.9 percent compared to 16.6 percent in 1970. The current ratio of young literate females to males in the age range of 15-24 is also estimated at 95.7 percent and the gender parity index at the primary and secondary levels is 97 percent and 87 percent respectively. Thus the female labor force participation rate in Ghana is estimated 50.1 percent and women account for about 50.2 percent of the entire population of Ghana. This means that women in Ghana probably constitute half of the entire labor force and are contributing to national output growth even though this is often not measured. This notwithstanding, most economically active women in Ghana operate in the informal economy, where they outnumber men, and are particularly involved in various micro-enterprises and retail trade (Voices of Women Entrepreneurs in Ghana, 2007).

Livesay (1982) suggest that "successful entrepreneurship is an art form as much as, or perhaps more than, it is an economic activity, and as such it is as difficult as any other artistic activity to explain in terms of original method or environmental influence" (p.13). This difficulty notwithstanding, exploring the challenges of home enterprises operated by women in the Accra metropolis as this study seeks to do, will bring to the fore peculiar issues, if addressed will see more micro enterprises growing to large scale ones.

1.2 Problem statement

Dzisi (2008) explored the personal profile and entrepreneurial activities of indigenous Ghanaian women and the significant impact of the indigenous women-run small to medium-sized enterprises on Africa countries' economies. 241 indigenous Ghanaian women and in addition, 20 of these women were purposefully selected and interviewed. The Indigenous Ghanaian women, it was found exhibit many similarities with their counterparts in other countries in terms of their personality traits. However, they differed in other aspects such as their educational backgrounds and modes of entrepreneurial skills acquisition. Though this discussed substantial contributions to the economic growth of Ghana in terms of innovation, job creation, and reduction in poverty and unemployment by women entrepreneurs, the challenges that inhibit their growth was unaccounted for.

Stemming from the historical views of entrepreneurship, theoretical and descriptive arguments linking entrepreneurship and economic growth have emerged from various fields of economics and management study, including economic history, industrial economics and management theory. Wennekers and Thurik (1999) and more recently Carree and Thurik (2003) provide extensive surveys of the diverse literature on the relationship between entrepreneurship and economic growth. In essence, the literature suggests that entrepreneurship contributes to economic performance by introducing innovations, creating change, creating competition and enhancing rivalry.

While the entrepreneurship literature in Ghana has focused on many issues ranging from an individual's attributes to new venture strategies and investment decision making there is a lack of research on the inhibiting challenges to entrepreneurship progression, where a micro enterprise grows to become a large enterprise.

While most small business owners would attest to the difficulty in finding cash to run and expand their businesses, established finance houses point to the lack of capacity on the part of SME's to access their funds. The lack of capacity is variously explained as inadequate management structure among others. Beyond these challenges, this study seeks explore, with the objective of accounting for the challenges that keep home enterprises operated by women at that state for very long and in most cases collapse. This study, it is believed will fill this gap in literature and thereby contributing to entrepreneurial growth in Ghana.

1.3 Objectives

Following from the discussions above, the general purpose of this study is to explore the challenges of Ghanaian female entrepreneurs operating home enterprises in the Accra Metropolis. Specifically the study seeks to achieve the following:

Assess the entrepreneurial characteristics of female home enterprise owners in Accra.

Identify challenges inhibiting the growth of these enterprises;

Make recommendations aimed at growing these enterprises from micro to large scale

1.4 Research Question

In order to achieve the above stated objectives, the study will find answers for the following questions:

Why do female entrepreneurs remain at the micro scale level of enterprise?

What knowledge and skills do these women run their business with?

How can home enterprises be grown into large scale ones?

1.5 Significance of the study

Empirical analysis of the gender and economic growth nexus for Ghana suggests that a significant increase in the female literacy rate could produce an increase in real output growth by about one-half. In other words, a significant improvement in gender equity, be it in terms of human capital accumulation, women's economic participation or otherwise will have significant beneficial effects on economic growth rates.. This is significant for the quest to scale up growth rates in order to become a high end middle income country and to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Therefore a study of this sort that holds the potency to inform entrepreneurship without which the economy will perish is of agent significance.

1.6 Scope/Limitation of Study

This is an exploratory study and made use of both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. The collection of primary data was restricted to structured interviews. The use of questionnaires was adopted to collect data from a cross-section of entrepreneurs from the service industry as this group constitutes the bulk of SMEs in Ghana. The study was limited to women who Own and operate home based enterprises.

1.7 Structure of the study

This research report comprises five chapters. The major components and functions of each chapter are detailed below.

The first chapter introduces and justifies the research question, highlight the objectives in this research, and explain the research structure.

The second chapter is dedicated to literature review. The purpose of literature review is to "define concepts and formulating a conceptual framework of the dissertation" (Fisher 2004). Important Definitions and explanation of the subject matter are highlighted.

The third chapter presents the research methodology and will include the procedures used to conduct the research and handling of the data collected.

Chapter four is concerned with the findings from the primary research. Data collected with the questionnaire are processed and analyzed using a computer software SPSS. Key points from the analysis are then presented.

Chapter five reaches natural conclusions resulting from the above discussions. Limitations (constraints) regarding generalization capacity of this research will be reminded and recommendations (solutions) made.

CHAPTER TWO

LITERATURE REVIEW

2.0 Introduction

This chapter reviews literature from various previous works on entrepreneurship. The subject matter is discussed from theory to empirical information with emphasis on women in enterprise. The definitions of entrepreneurship are discussed from the various perspectives found in literature. The characteristics of an entrepreneur are then explored from previous authors. Since the study is focused on female entrepreneurs, character trite peculiar to women are also discussed to form the basis of the conceptual framework to guide the collection of data.

2.1 Definition of entrepreneurship

Definitions of entrepreneurship, which have arguably evolved over time, reflect a wide range of variability so it is understandable that government policy makers may view entrepreneurship quite differently depending upon the definitions they are familiar with and ultimately choose to guide their actions. Consequently the focus of a policy may only target or reflect the elements of the specific definition or framework (Gartner, 1985) referenced by policy makers when developing government measures to assist entrepreneurship rather than considering and taking into account the evolutionary nature of entrepreneurship.

The word "entrepreneur" is derived from the French verb 'enterprendre' that means, "to undertake" (Desai, 1999). The term "Entrepreneur" has been defined differently by different people and yet no consensus has been reached on one universally accepted definition. For the purpose of our research an entrepreneur is an individual who propelled by an idea, personal goals, and ambition, brings together the financial capital, people, equipment, and facilities to establish and manage a business enterprise (Donnely et al., 1990). Entrepreneurship is widely considered as an important ingredient in the modern global economic development recipe (Kirschoff and Phillips, 1989; Keeble et al., 1990; Audretsch and Fritsch, 1991).

Unfortunately, as a generic term, the concept of "entrepreneurship" has been used in a wide variety of contexts and currently covers a broad range of interchangeable meanings and situations. Such definitional diversity has not gone unnoticed and the search for conceptual and contextual convergence has resulted in increasingly complex models that claim to represent entrepreneurship in its many guises (Matlay and Westhead, 2004).

By and large, there is consensus that entrepreneurship with its emphasis on opportunity and wealth creation is a vital element of organizational and individual success (Antoncic and Hisrich, 2003; Davidsson, 2005). Traditionally, entrepreneurship has been linked to uncertainty, to risk-taking as well as to the efforts on the part of the individual (entrepreneur) who ventures to transform visions into business activities.

These scholars have identified three distinct traditions in the development of entrepreneurial research: the German Tradition developed by Schumpeter and Von Thuenen, the Chicago Tradition by Knight and Schultz and the Austrian Tradition, based on Von Mises, Kirzner and Shackle. Schumpeterian theory views entrepreneurship as a disequilibrating phenomenon, rather than an equilibrating force and a theory of creative destruction has been proposed where new firms with entrepreneurial characteristics displace less innovative incumbents thus leading to a higher degree of economic growth. Knight (1921) emphasizes the role of risk as central in the "uncertain" entrepreneurial environment. Finally, Kirzner (1979) places emphasis on the role of opportunities within entrepreneurship, and argues that the fundamental entrepreneurial activity involves "seeing" previously unnoticed opportunities for profit, referring to entrepreneurial alertness.

2.2 Motivators of Entrepreneurship

Benzing and Chu (2009) reviewed literature on entrepreneurial motivation and referenced Kuratko et al. (1997) and Robichaud et al. (2001) to list motivation factors of Entrepreneurship as follows:

(1) Extrinsic rewards.

(2) Independence/autonomy.

(3) Intrinsic rewards.

(4) Family security.

According to Benzing and Chu (2009) extrinsic motives are the economic reasons that entrepreneur's work, while intrinsic motives are related to self-fulfillment and growth. Wang et al. (2006) is reported in Benzing and Chu (2009) to have found that "pull" motivations include the desire to be one's own boss, increase wealth, change lifestyle or use of one's experience and knowledge while push factors could include unemployment, retrenchment, low paying jobs and the desire to escape supervision.

Scheinberg and MacMillan (1988) is cited by Benzing and Chu (2009) to indicate that entrepreneurs in the US and Australia are highly motivated by the need for independence. In contrast, Italian and Chinese entrepreneurs are strongly motivated by communitarianism.

Portuguese and Chinese entrepreneurs establish businesses to fulfill a need for approval. Shane et al. (1991 in Benzing and Chu, 2009) provided a cross-country comparison of entrepreneurs in Great Britain, Norway and New Zealand. According to their results 14 motivation items loaded on four factors: recognition, independence, learning and something they call "roles".

In Africa, Benzing and Chu, (2009) cite Bewayo,(1995) to indicate that for Uganda's entrepreneurs "making a living" or "making money" is the most important motivator for their business ownership. Bewayo's survey also shows that a majority of entrepreneurs (61 per cent) prefer business ownership to working for a corporation because of autonomy, freedom, and independence. Chu et al. (2007) found that increasing income is the most important motivation for entrepreneurs in Ghana and Kenya. According to a study by Chamlee-Wright (1997), Ghanaian entrepreneurs often invest in a business because they have few other savings/investment options.

For Pech and Cameron (2006), entrepreneurs have a heightened ability and awareness for recognising and exploiting business opportunities and continually seek opportunity-laden information in order to satisfy competitive urges. An entrepreneurial mind is attracted and stimulated by elements of excitement and fun and is driven by business challenges that match and stretch their skills, knowledge, and abilities.

Kirkwood (2009) also concludes there are four key drivers of entrepreneurial motivation.

First, a desire for independence and related factors such as autonomy and greater control.

Secondly, monetary motivations also classed as a pull factor. This has been found to be important (Alstete, 2003).

Push factors which are often a key factor that can influence the preparation for an entrepreneurial career (Dobrev and Barnett, 2005; Winn, 2004) comprising issues such as unemployment, redundancy, and a lack of job or career prospects.

A number of family-related factors have been found to be important, such as combining waged and domestic labour (Still and Soutar, 2001), family policies and family obligations (DeMartino and Barbato, 2003), fit with domestic commitments (Greenfield and Nayak, 1992), and a desire for work-family balance (Jennings and McDougald, 2007; Kirkwood and Tootell, 2008).

2.3 The characteristics of the entrepreneur and Success

Simpson, Tuck and Bellamy (2004) synthesize a wide range of literature to come out with entrepreneurial success and the characteristic of entrepreneurs, indicating the early attempts by many researchers (Curran et al., 1986; Beaver, 2002; Harada, 2002) to define the characteristics of the successful entrepreneur.

Simpson, Tuck and Bellamy (2004) agree with Hill and McGowan (1999) to advocate that enterprise reflects the individual personality and behaviour of the entrepreneur, their commitment and vision being central to the success of the business. The external environment also has a big impact on the success of the business, they agree with Curran et al. (1986). Curran et al. (1986) argue that it is a combination of the knowledge, experiences and personality, and the way in which they are affected by the outside influences of society and the environment, that go together to make a successful entrepreneur. It has also been suggested that one of the main success factors relates to the interaction of the entrepreneur with the delivery of the service (Beaver, 2002 cited in Simpson, Tuck and Bellamy, 2004). Simpson, Tuck and Bellamy (2004) posit as Nandram (2002) that in order to be successful the entrepreneur must have a combination of attributes and skills including being goal-oriented, decisive, pragmatic, resolute, flexible and self-confident.

Sourcing Hodgetts and Kuratko (1992), Simpson et, al (2004) suggested that the entrepreneurial characteristics that contribute to small business success are to do with technical and mental ability, human relations skills, high achievement drive and creativity. Also that setting up a business for "positive reasons" such as to be independent, to be creative, to do enjoyable work is associated with survival of the small firm. While those setting up for negative reasons such as to exploit a market opportunity or meet a perceived service need, reduced the probability of survival (Watson et al., 1998 in Simpson et al., 2004).

Mukhtar (1998 in Simpson et al., 2004) examined the differences between male and female owner-managed small businesses in the UK, to try to establish whether female business owners constituted a distinct entrepreneurial group. Mukhtar (1998) focused on established businesses and found that male and female business owners have different motivations and make different choices, resulting in different business characteristics. Mukhtar (1998, p. 48) found that the decision-making of the two genders differed, concluding that they "exhibit different forms of entrepreneurialism".

2.4 Education and entrepreneurial success

Many factors both internal and external have been found to impact on small business success including, inter alia, industry structure and competition, entrepreneurial decisions, employee relations, entrepreneurial objectives, organisational culture, education, training and prior experience and various sub-categories within these areas. Previous researchers have attempted to define success in terms of growth (Perren, 1999, 2000), sustainability and turnover, while others have looked at entrepreneurial characteristics and traits contributing to success and the organisational characteristics indicative of success.

Dickson and Solomon (2008) discussed the linkage between education in general, education specific to entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial outcomes. Two of the theories they identified as often used are Bandura's "social learning theory" (Humanet al., 2005) and "action learning theory" (Leitch and Harrison, 1999).

Bandura's theory provides a framework involving five steps necessary for learning that includes skill and attitude assessment, skill and attitude learning, behavioral guidelines and action steps, skill and attitude analysis and skill practice. The model of action learning was first proposed by Revans (1971) according to Dickson and Solomon (2008). The model, they explain focuses on learning by reflecting on actions that solve real organizational problems. While these are only two of many theoretical frameworks utilized, Dickson and Solomon (2008) suggest that support for hypothesizing a relationship between entrepreneurial education and various entrepreneurial outcomes is the impact of such education on attitudes, skill development and behavior.

On the relationship between general education and selection into entrepreneurship and general education and entrepreneurial performance, Dickson and Solomon (2008) cited Van der Sluis et al. (2004) for in industrial countries, and same authors (2005) for developing countries. The primary conclusions drawn from reviewing research dating back to the early 1980s were similar in both cases. They concluded that in both developing and industrialized countries there is evidence to support a positive and significant relationship between the level of general education and entrepreneurial performance, whether performance is measured as growth, profits or earning power of the entrepreneur. They further concluded that the evidence linking general education to selection into entrepreneurship is ambiguous and can not be classified as either positive or negative, similar to the position of Acs et al. (2004).

Referring to both theoretical and empirical research, Gorman et al. (1997 in Dickson and Solomon, 2008) conducted a survey of entrepreneurship education research published between 1985 and 1994. Their review located 63 articles divided between those focusing on venture creation and those focusing on the management of small- to medium-sized firms. They suggested that the central theme in the research they reviewed is the extent to which formal education can contribute to entrepreneurship. They argued that the existing empirical research published during the time period of their review seems to suggest a consensus among researchers that entrepreneurship can be taught and that entrepreneurial attributes can be positively influenced by educational programs (Dickson and Solomon, 2008).

2.5 Patterns of female entrepreneurship

Bruni, Gherardi and Poggio (2004) draw up typologies of women entrepreneurs combining "the best-known classifications" (Goffee and Scase, 1985; Cromie and Hayes, 1988; Monaci, 1997) to identify the following "ideal-typical" profiles of women entrepreneurs:

the "aimless" young women who set up a business essentially as an alternative to unemployment;

the "success-oriented" young women for whom entrepreneurship is not a more or less random or obligatory choice but a long-term career strategy;

the "strongly success-oriented" women, usually without children, who view entrepreneurial activity as an opportunity for greater professional fulfillment or as a means to overcome the obstacles against career advancement encountered in the organizations for which they previously worked;

the "dualists", often with substantial work experience, who must reconcile work and family responsibilities and are therefore looking for a solution which gives them flexibility;

the "return workers", or women (usually low-skilled) who have quit their previous jobs to look after their families and are motivated by mainly economic considerations or by a desire to create space for self-fulfillment outside the family sphere;

the "traditionalists", or women with family backgrounds in which the owning and running of a business is a longstanding tradition; and

The "radicals", or women motivated by a culture antagonist to conventional entrepreneurial values who set up initiatives intended to promote the interests of women in society.

Orhan and Scott (2001) similar to the above identified some categories in which female entrepreneurs can be places based on the factors that led to their entering into entrepreneurship. The type of entrepreneur are classified in six categories as in Orhan and Scott (2001). "No other choice" refers to those women who as a result of difficulties with their salaried work, low qualification or relocation could not find a job and had to establish one. The other type is "entrepreneur by chance" which refers to those who became entrepreneurs by inheriting their parents business after a natural accident or difficulty. The third category, "natural succession" refers to natural progression into the family business after acquiring the need education or where the business if formed by the woman's husband and she joined to assist. "Forced entrepreneurs" refer to those who went in out of necessity factors such as losing their jobs. Those women, who became entrepreneurs after role models or had knowledge of required services in their areas, are categorized as "informed entrepreneurs". The last category is the "pure entrepreneur" and refers to those with high levels of education and had on-the-job training.

2.6 The motivations of women entrepreneurs

According to Bruni, Gherardi and Poggio (2004), the dominant discourse regarding the reasons why women may decide to start up a business distinguishes between "compulsion" factors (which constrain women more out of necessity than choice) and positive or "attraction" factors (which induce women to see entrepreneurship as an opportunity). Bruni, Gherardi and Poggio (2004) present attraction represented by motives such as those outlined in Monaci (1997), a way to supplement an inadequate household income; or as a solution for entering in an activity in which formal selection criteria (qualifications, experience and gender) seem less stringent; as well as a strategy to obtain greater margins of flexibility and discretion. On the other side, compulsion is depicted as a search for independence and autonomy in work; a search for professional self-fulfilment; a search for income; the pursuit of a social mission (e.g. the social integration of the more vulnerable members of society).

In general, Bruni, Gherardi and Poggio (2004) state, "the entry of women into entrepreneurship seems to be a complex mix of constraints and opportunities, of external coercions and subjective aspirations. Yet, seen in deconstructive light, the interweaving of availability for the market and for the family which places adult women with family responsibilities in two systems (that are in fact interdependent though symbolically separate) is a normative model that produces drudgery, coercion, restrictions of time and cleavages of identity". At the same time those women able to cope with these constraints are represented as skilled in the management of flexibility and relational resources.

2.7 The enterprise culture of women entrepreneurs

The mainstream business economics literature tells us that firms set up and run by women tend to display a set of distinctive features (Brush, 1992; Chaganti, 1986 in Bruni, et al, 2004).

During the start-up and developments phases of their businesses, it seems that women tend not to use a deliberate approach; that is, a management model characterized by a distinct and rational sequence of actions (the identification of opportunities, the setting of objectives for corporate growth, the obtaining of resources, the production and marketing of goods/services, the articulation of a formally defined organizational structure). Moreover, whereas men are mainly characterized by a "transactional" style of leadership (involving the exchange of results for rewards and command through control), women display distinct abilities in "transformational" leadership: a management style which seeks to foster positive interactions and trust relations with/among subordinates, to share power and information and to encourage employees to subordinate their personal aims and interests to collective ends (Rosener, 1990 in Bruni, et al, 2004).

A more critical interpretation (Kanter, 1977; David and Vicarelli, 1994, cited in Bruni, et al, 2004) suggests that, because women have not usually been able to wield formal authority in the organizations for which they work, they have been forced to develop other strategies to that end, most notably an ability to "feel" and anticipate the reactions of others. For women entrepreneurs, therefore, their concern for relational aspects and the flexibility matured in so many supporting roles, as well as their everyday coordination of family and work responsibilities, is represented in business literature as a valuable organizational exploitable resource.

Bruni, et al, 2004 posit, female entrepreneurship is different because female entrepreneurs are women, and their socialization into gender models has produced values and behaviours that, though different, can nonetheless be evaluated. They also conclude, this discourse creates a social expectation of behaviour differences that bases itself on essentialist or culturalist assumptions and shapes a new normative model of female experiences. While the view of entrepreneurship as "gender-neutral" gave rise to a prescriptive literature which urged women to "masculinize" themselves, the discovery of a "good female" experience has produced a gendering programme which prescribes "femalization" at all costs (Bruni, et al, 2004).

2.8 Challenges Facing Women Entrepreneurs

Kibas (2005) in a paper presented at the 3rd Africa Resource Bank Meeting discussed the challenges facing women entrepreneurs. According to Kibas (2005), women being the backbone of rural economies in developing countries and specifically in Africa, play a significant role to ensure their families' well being.  This is seen in terms of providing food, shelter, health and education for the children. Being the majority (about 55%) of the rural population, their role is crucial in bringing about change in their communities. 

Majority (90%) of these women Kibas (2005) posit are engaged in these activities out of necessity given that they have limited choices outside their traditional roles. Most have hardly gone beyond primary education and have very limited or no training.  As regards marital status, 80% are married and have families.  A number of them have absentee husbands, who often work far away from their homes while the rest are either single mothers, separated or widows.  Due to the many challenges they face in providing for their families, most of them are now engaged in income generation activities in form of micro enterprises (Kibas, 2005). Kibas (2005) enumerated some challenges to include: competition from well established male-dominated enterprises, lack of accurate information, support, finance for expansion, risk-taking propensity, domestic commitments, and steriotyping among others.

Olutayo and Yusuff (2012) like other researchers (Buttner et al,1997; Yves et al, 2001; Minniti et al, 2003; Kutanis, 2003; and Aina,2003) have recognized the increasing influx of women into the field of entrepreneurship in developing countries. They however concede while it is clear that more and more women are coming forward to set up enterprises in the informal economy, the rate of growth of such enterprises is hindered by myriads of problems for any meaningful entrepreneurial development.

According to Olutayo and Yusuff (2012) , despite women participation in entrepreneurship in informal economy, women lack access to and control over financial and other forms of resource such as, limited access to key resources like land, credits, and other strategic resources needed for entrepreneurship development. Inability to adequately access these strategic resources serve as serious impediments to women enterprises development (World Bank, 2009 in Olutayo and Yusuff, 2012).

Olutayo and Yusuff (2012) concurs access to financial resources is a key issue for women entrepreneurs. "Accessing credit, particularly for starting an enterprise, is one of the major constraints faced by women entrepreneurs in informal economy. In many countries, women face unequal access to bank loans, or discriminatory practices by banks. Women, in particular the less educated ones, find it difficult to get financing from banks because they lack information on how to go about securing a loan. Moreover, bank managers are often more reluctant to lend to women than to men" (Olutayo and Yusuff, 2012).

UN (2009) states that general lack of experience and exposure restricts women from venturing out and dealing with banking institutions. Those who do venture out often find that transaction costs for accessing credit are high, and cannot be met by the cash available to them. Because of this, they are dependent on the family members for surety or collateral and hence restrict the money they borrow. This results in lower investments. Alternately, they tend to find working capital at higher rates of interest. The availability of finance and other facilities, such as industrial sheds and land for women entrepreneurs are often constrained by restrictions that do not account for practical realities. All these in turn affect the enterprise and its survival (Olutayo and Yusuff, 2012).

In accessing loans for women entrepreneurial development, women lack access to institutional finance (Olutunla, 2007, Aderemi, et al, 2008, Onyenechere, 2009). Scholars found out that banks were unable to grant loans to women because of the fear that they may not repay back and women entrepreneurs lack collaterals that can be presented to the banks .In terms of access to external resources, most women have limited access to funds to enable them start and develop their businesses (NEPAD, 2003). In addition, the working capital some women in informal economy operate with is as low as twenty-five percent to the extent that the working capital they operate with cannot improve their socio-economic conditions (UNESCO, 2003).

Commenting on the role of women entrepreneurs, Weeks (2001) opines that women entrepreneurs play an increasingly important role in promoting economic growth and development. To ensure this role is accomplished, most of them rely on predatory moneylenders because of the problems they encounter in accessing credit from the formal financial institution (Iheduru, 2002 and, Olutayo, 2005, Olutayo and Yusuff, 2012).

One of the factors of production is the land. However, in developing countries, the prevailing land tenure system does not allow women to own, control, or inherit land. This is because land titles are placed in men's names even where women were clearly handling the household. Women can only obtain land for farming by borrowing, renting, or outright purchase. When borrowed lands are farmed, women are not allowed to plant perennial crops like cocoa, rubber, and other economic trees (Olutayo and Yusuff, 2012).

In addition, according to World Bank (1999) report that generally in developing countries, women are unable to accumulate titled assets that can be offered as collateral security for loans, therefore, the scale and growth of their enterprises are usually adversely affected. Inheritance practices and laws, discriminatory laws on ownership of property serve as impediment to women entrepreneur. As regards accessing land, World Bank (2009) report that among the Arabs, women do not own lands. Even if they are legally entitled to land, they often cede it to their brothers because of the belief that it should remain in the family name. The same logic applies in relation to household property, which is generally registered in the name of man, even if his wife has made a financial contribution to its acquisition (Olutayo and Yusuff 2012).

2.9 Research proposition

Based on the literature reviewed above and as in Olutayo and Yusuff (2012), this study posit female entrepreneurs face a variety of challenges that may well impede them in their desire to run and manage their own businesses. These challenges can be seen to be based on 1) personal factors 2) gender and family based factors and 3) market based challenges. These form the basis of the propositions set out below.

Proposition 1: female entrepreneurs in Ghana experience challenges relating to personal/individual factors (e.g. lack of training, skills, lack of confidence)

Proposition 2: female entrepreneurs in Ghana experience challenges relating to gender and familial factors (e.g. gender discrimination, sexual harassment; lack of recognition from the business community; negative attitudes and lack of support from spouse).

Proposition 3: female entrepreneurs in Ghana experience challenges that relate to market based factors (e.g. lack of access to finance, market competition; economic conditions).

Data is collected using a structure questionnaire in the study area to assess the veracity of these propositions. The details of the study methodology are discussed in the next chapter.

CHAPTER THREE

METHODOLOGY

Introduction

This chapter presents details of the methods and procedures used for this study. The chapter provides details on the study area, the design of the study as well as data collections procedures. The composition of the data collections instrument is also explained. The chapter proceeds with the study area.

Study area - Accra Metropolis

AMA has a total land size of 200 square kilometres and is made up of six sub metros namely Okaikoi, Ashiedu Keteke, Ayawaso, Kpeshie, Osu Klotey and Ablekuma.

The Southern boundary of the Metropolis of Accra is the Gulf of Guinea from Gbegbegese to the Mukwe Lagoon near Regional Maritime Academy. The boundary continues along the Maritime Road to join the Accra-Tema road to Nungua Police Station Barrier.

It turns right to the Ashaiman Municipal road till the Railway overhead Bridge on the Motorway and continues to Mile Post 91/2. From here the boundary continues to the road between the Institute of Professional Studies (IPS) and the Accra Teachers Training College (ATRACO), westwards crossing the Accra-Aburi Road to the University of Ghana behind the great Hall to Kisiseman and Christian Village to join the Accra Nsawam Road at the Achimota Brewery Road Junction.

It turns left for 500m to the Aayeayeefee Street junction and through the Aayeayeefee Street to the Bridge over the Achimota Stream, then turns right along the stream to the high tension lines to the Achwilage Street and through Achwilage Street to the range of the Awoshie Hills and turns left again along the hills to the boundary between Kokroko and Awoshie (Ga South Municipal), from here it turns left along the swampy area and crossing the motorway through the swampy area to the bridge on the Sakumono Stream on the Accra-Winneba road and streatching along the stream till the starting point at Gbegbeyese.

3.2 Study design

Being a human endeavor, the researcher considered several factors in the design of the study. Time and financial resources played a number of roles in the design and execution of research. Since both time and finance are limited, the research is so designed to make it manageable by restricting the study to the Accra Metropolis though the study is in reference to Ghana as a whole.

The study is designed as a cross-sectional (one off) type. The exploratory research methodology making use of both qualitative and quantitative techniques is adopted. Data will be collected from a cross-section of respondents who will be chosen to represents the target population, that is female home enterprise owners in the Metropolis. The designed data collection instrument will be administered by identified owners/managers in and around the residential communities of Accra.

3.3 Sampling design and procedures

To facilitate the selection of the sample size, a Non-Probability Convenience Sampling technique will be used. This is to enable easy accessibility and convenience due to time constraint and the lack of an organized directory of these businesses. The identified enterprise owners will be approached and the study introduced to them. Where their consent is guaranteed, the questionnaire will be handed to them to self-administer. It is expected that some of the respondents may be illiterate and as such, a number of the questionnaires will be not be self-administered. Rather research assistants will be recruited to assist in data collection.

A total sample size of hundred is expected. Triangulation will also be done for the purposes of reliability of the information. By this, twenty of the hundred respondents will be engaged in a more detailed face-to-face interview for an in-depth understanding of the subject matter.

3.4 The data collection instrument - Questionnaire

Both open-ended and closed-ended questions will be used for the research instrument. The closed-ended questions will set to provide some form of yardstick for the respondents to relate to, so as to minimize excessive deviations. The open-ended questions will give the respondents the opportunity to answer the questions in their own words and also allowed them to make their own comments, suggestions and recommendations devoid of the researches bias.

The questionnaire will be in three sections. The first section of the questionnaire will concentrated on obtaining general information on the respondent and their business. This will be made up of mostly close-ended questions. The second sections will seek to assess the respondents' entrepreneurial experience. The third section of the questionnaire will collect data on the challenges the respondent are facing in growing their enterprises. The final section will solicit for views/recommendations from the entrepreneurs which they believe can help grow their business.

The questionnaire will be designed alongside literature review. The literature will inform the questionnaire of required entrepreneurial knowledge, skills, experiences and challenges as reported by previous authors and as observed in other jurisdictions. Challenges identified in literature to inhibiting to enterprise growth will also be tested on the sample and others peculiar to the current study sample identified.

3.3.1 Pretesting of the Questionnaire

After thorough planning and designing of the study, a first field visit will be made to some few respondents in an attempt to pre-test the questionnaire. Suggestions about rephrasing some of the questions to convey the intended meaning will be incorporated and mistakes identified during the pre-testing stage corrected.

3.4 Procedures of data analysis

All the questionnaires will be checked for consistency and also to ensure they are all answered. Where necessary, follow up visits or telephone calls will be made to some of the respondents for clarification on some of the responses. The administered questionnaires will be keyed into the computer software, SPSS and a range of statistical analysis including simple percentages and tables used to present the findings.

3.5 Ethical and human subject consideration

All participants in this survey will be properly briefed and the objectives and purpose of the study indicated to them. The participants will not under any compulsion to participate in the study and will be at liberty to withdraw at anytime in the course of the interview. The identities of the respondents will also be protected and the information provided treated with upmost confidentiality.

CHAPTER FOUR

ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION

Introduction

This chapter presented the analysis of the data collected as discussed in the previous chapter. The findings from the survey are presented to meet the set objectives of this study. Various descriptive and inferential statistical approaches are used to make the data comprehensible.

4.2 Profile and Personal Characteristics

4.3 Assessing entrepreneurial experience of respondents

4.4 Challenges of Female Entrepreneurs

Respondents were asked to rank (1-18) the importance of a series of potential challenges faced in their entrepreneurial career.

Item

Ranked first by (%)

Ranked in Top 3 by (%)

Ranked last

by (%)

Family responsibilities

25.6

49.3

2.6

Lack of access to Finance

19.6

44.1

1.5

No-one advising me

5.2

25.1

2.9

Gaining acceptance in the market

7.1

20.8

2.6

No opportunity to upgrade skills

6.0

20.1

3.3

Lack of support and assistance

12.7

29.1

1.8

Lack of access to IT

6.0

18.5

2.9

Finding right contacts/networking

4.9

15.7

2.9

Sexual Harassment

17.5

33.5

2.6

Coping with competition

5.7

23.5

2.9

High rent/tenement rates

7.7

23.5

3.6

Customer complaints

6.9

20.7

3.6

Inconsistency in power supplies

6.6

23.0

2.9

Too much government regulation

6.0

18.5

2.9

Gender discrimination

5.6

17.7

2.9

Lack of time/energy

6.7

20.6

3.3

My husband does not like the business I am in

4.9

15.9

20.8

Unfavourable economic conditions

3.1

14.7

2.9

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

1

.08

1

.13*

.21**

1

.05

.22**

.41**

1

.14*

.09

.44**

.32**

1

-.05

.20**

.13*

.29**

.21**

1

-.01

.19**

.19**

.22**

.28**

.30**

1

.00

.20**

.19**

.18**

.19**

.26**

.31**

1

.05

-.02

.19**

.15*

.35**

.14*

.21**

.19**

1

-.00

.03

.13*

.11

.26**

.15*

.17**

.26**

.22**

1

.02

.07

.13*

.10

.09

.09

.17**

.18**

.21**

.18**

1

.08

.16*

.16*

.20**

.31**

.09

.24**

.25**

.27**

.31**

.13*

1

.01

.04

.01

-.02

.02

.07

.12

.26**

.11

.32**

.34**

.19**

1

.04

.03

.03

.18**

.12

.11

.10

.17**

.24**

.231**

.27**

.37**

.17**

1

-.05

.11

.05

.21**

.12

.13*

.20**

.23**

.29**

.17**

.15*

.31**

.27**

.26**

1

.00

.04

-.01

00

.06

.05

.01

.19**

.08

.19**

.16*

.18**

.27**

.29**

.24**

1

.05

-.04

.09

.12

.23**

.19**

.10

.19**

.27**

.19**

.05

.29**

.08

.22**

.38**

.19**

1

06

-.17*

-.02

.04

-.03

-.11

-.13

.05

.11

.04

.09

.04

.13*

.21*

.18**

.21**

.26**

From descriptive statistics of this ordering, the item 'family responsibilities' emerged as the most important factor (49.3% of the sample ranked this in the top 3 challenges faced and 25.6% as the top challenge). Cross tabulations indicate that this figure rises to 50% for younger women (under 33 years). Interestingly, even single women have rated this highly: 35% ranked this as one of the top 3 challenges faced. This was followed by lack of access to finance (ranked in the top 3 by 44.1%), sexual harassment (ranked in the top 3 by 33.5%) and lack of support and assistance (ranked in the top 3 by 29.1%). Other key challenges encountered include lack of advice on business issues (ranked in the top 3 by 25.1%), coping with competition (ranked in the top 3 by 23.5%), high rent/tenement rates (ranked in the top 3 by 21.8%) and lack of time and energy (ranked in the top 3 by 20.6%). Interestingly, gender discrimination was only chosen as in the top 3 challenges by 17.7% of the sample. Moreover, while 15.9% identified 'my husband does not like what I am doing' as in the top 3 challenges faced, over one fifth (20.8%) strongly rejected this notion, positioning the item last in the ordering (the highest figure in this bottom group).

In terms of rank correlations, some key findings emerge. First, the challenge posed by the burden of family responsibilities, ranked first by the largest percentage of the sample, correlates significantly with lack of advice on business issues (0.13) and lack of opportunity for training and upgrading skills (0.14). Secondly, lack of access to finance, also ranked highly, is associated with difficulties finding acceptance in the market and respect from their customers (0.22), lack of IT facilities (0.13) and finding right contacts for networking (0.20). These are all largely market based variables. Thirdly, lack of advice on business issues, chosen as one of the top 3 challenges by a quarter of the sample, is associated in particular with problems gaining acceptance in the market and gaining respect from customers (0.41), lack of opportunity to get training or to upgrade skills (0.44), lack of access to IT (0.19), finding the right contacts and networks (0.19) and problems of sexual harassment (0.19).

Discussion of findings

This paper set out to explore the challenges faced by female entrepreneurs in the context of

Nigeria. In so doing, it acknowledges the importance of the often unrecognised contribution that women make to the Nigerian economy in their entrepreneurial activities (Aderemi et al,

15

2008; Kitching and Woldie, 2004) and responds to a call (de Bruin et al, 2007; Blackburn and Kovalainen, 2009; Gartner, 1995; Carter, 2000; Kitching and Woldie, 2004) for more work focussing on the experiences of female entrepreneurs in a non-Western context. The paper is organized around three key propositions about challenges faced that emerged from the literature. These concern 1) personal factors (e.g. lack of education/training; lack of confidence) 2) gender and family based factors (e.g. family responsibilities, gender discrimination) and 3) market based factors (e.g. lack of access to finance; government regulation, economic conditions).

Personal Factors

There was little evidence from the data to support the proposition that female entrepreneurs in Nigeria face challenges that relate to personal or 'individually based' factors. Most are educated to post-school standard and exhibit self perceptions that are associated with strong entrepreneurial predispositions. Thus female entrepreneurs enjoy risk taking and the challenge of taking on difficult tasks, value independence and autonomy and see themselves as creative and innovative - key ingredients of so-called

'entrepreneurial self efficacy' (Mueller and Dato-On, 2008) and which form the basis of intrinsic factors likely in a general context to influence women to seek out an entrepreneurial career (Akrivos et al, 2007; Carter, 2000). Most started their businesses very young and a large minority are family breadwinners. The level of confidence and self belief exhibited by these self perceptions may be reflected in the mode of entry: the majority had started their businesses from scratch - and were running them on their own - an undertaking that is likely to be more risky than buying into a going concern and which is also

likely to demand more entrepreneurial ability and resourcefulness. However, despite this,

16

there is evidence that women encounter a lack of support in their ventures and that they would welcome the opportunity to further upgrade their skills.

Gender based and Family Factors

Results support the notion that some gender and family based factors are key to understanding the challenges faced by women in this context. In this respect, the pressure of family responsibilities emerged as the most important factor. What is interesting here, however, is the importance placed on this factor irrespective of marital status in that even single women identify this as one of the top three challenges faced. However, while a sizeable minority feel that their husbands are a source of constraint in that they are seen to be unsupportive to their entrepreneurial work, an equal number strongly reject this notion

- a polarization unique to this item. This may reflect both a recognition of patriarchal values within the family and an experience of support and/or familial loyalty. Given that Nigeria is a strongly patriarchal society (Kuada, 2009; Broysen, 1999), it may be anticipated that gender discrimination would be experienced as a key challenge. However, from the data only a minority identified this as an issue. Sexual harassment was instead, and somewhat paradoxically, a major problem identified. This form of behaviour by men has emerged from other studies in this and similar contexts as a common experience for women (Lodebo,

2003), possibly reflecting patriarchal attitudes to those women who venture into the public

sphere (Brodsky, 1993; Zakaria, 2001; Woldie and Adersua, 2004). One possibility for this paradox is that the choice of sexual harassment as an overt form of discrimination 'over- rode' the more 'oblique' description of gender discrimination and that the latter item was

accordingly less likely to be selected. Alternatively, the language of discrimination may not

17

be so 'mainstream' in this context (compared to the West which is steeped in equal opportunity ideologies) and so had less purchase in women's experiences.

Market Based Factors

Results support the proposition that market based factors form the basis of key challenges facing female entrepreneurs in Nigeria. In this respect, lack of access to finance was the most significant - an issue that can impact on growth prospects as well as on the day to day running of the enterprise. Previous research has attested to a level of discrimination towards women in this regard both in a Western context (Marlow, 2006; Roper and Scott,

2009) and in Nigeria where banks are often reluctant to lend to women and where they frequently operate a binary system that favours men (Histrish and Ozturk, 1999; McElwee and Al-Riyami, 2003; O'Neil, 2001). This issue was closely correlated with other market related factors including, in particular, difficulties finding acceptance in the market and respect from customers (experienced as one of top three challenges by one fifth of the sample) and finding right contacts for networking. Lack of advice on business issues emerges as a further issue. Key environmental and infra-structural issues include high rents and inconsistent power supplies.

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