Monday, August 03, 2009


IWS Documented News Service
Institute for Workplace Studies----------------- Professor Samuel B. Bacharach
School of Industrial & Labor Relations
-------- Director, Institute for Workplace Studies
Cornell University
16 East 34th Street, 4th floor
---------------------- Stuart Basefsky
New York, NY 10016
-------------------------------Director, IWS News Bureau

International Labour Organization (ILO)
Job Creation and Enterprise Development Department

Women Entrepreneurs in Kenya [online July 2009]
Women Entrepreneurs in Kenya (A preliminary Report) & Factors affecting Women Entrepreneurs in Micro and Small Enterprises in Kenya (A Primary Research Report)
[full-text, 117 pages]

This report has been prepared as part of an Irish-Aid Funded Partnership Programme which,between 2002-2004 worked to promote women's entrepreneurship and gender equality (WEDGE) in Ethiopia, United Republic of Tanzania and Zambia. The second phase of (2005-2008) WEDGE expanded geographically to include Kenya and Uganda and technically to mainstream women with disabilities in WEDGE activities (DEWD).

The report combines the expertise of the ILO's Small Enterprise Programme (SEED) and the Skills and Employability (SKILLS) Department to emphasize developing the knowledge base on women entrepreneurs (with and without disabilities) so as to accurately inform strategic interventions in improving advocacy and support services.

Acknowledgements ix
Abbreviations and acronyms x
1. Introduction 1
1.1 Background 1
1.1.1 Purpose 1
1.1.2 Scope and definitions 1
2. Objectives of the study 2
3. Methodology 3
3.1 Sample size 3
4. Findings of the study 4
4.1 Scale, scope and profile of MSEs in Kenya 4
4.1.1 Scale and scope of MSEs in Kenya 4
4.1.2 MSEs' contribution to job creation in Kenya 4
4.1.3 Sectoral distribution of employment among MSEs 5
4.1.4 Gender distribution 6
4.1.5 A profile of women entrepreneurs in MSEs in Kenya 7
4.1.6 Women in micro and small enterprises in Kenya 7
4.1.7 MSEs access to financial support services in Kenya 8
4.1.8 Non-financial Business Development Services 10
4.2 Policy environment for women's entrepreneurship development in Kenya 11
4.3 Barriers and constraints to women's entrepreneurship in Kenya 12
4.3.1 Financial and credit availability and accessibility 13
4.3.2 Legal and regulatory barriers 14
4.3.3 Appropriate technology 14
4.3.4 Limited entrepreneurial culture and management skills 14
4.3.5 Women's "heavier household financial and time burden" 15
4.3.6 Lack of risk mitigating mechanisms for women in MSEs 15
4.4 Supply side constraints affecting potential women entrepreneurs in Kenya 16
4.4.1 Gender disparities in education and training 16
4.4.2 Disparities in gender Human Development Indicator (HDI) 17
4.4.3 Gender disparities in employment 17
4.4.4 Decline in economic growth 18
4.4.5 Asset distribution disparities 18
vi Women Entrepreneurs in Kenya
4.4.6 Rural-urban disparities (spatial isolation) 18
4.4.7 Gender and disability disparities in empowerment 18
4.5 Potential economic opportunities for women entrepreneurs in Kenya 20
4.6 Efforts being made to empower women in MSEs in Kenya 20
4.6.1 Creation of gender desks in ministries 20
4.6.2 Establishment of the gender commission in the Ministry
of Gender, Sports, Culture and Social Services 21
4.6.3 Gender and equality development (persons with disabilities) 21
4.6.4 Establishment of a Women's University of Science and Technology 21
4.6.5 Reducing poverty level 22
4.6.6 Increasing agricultural productivity and exports 22
4.6.7 Reducing the high HIV/AIDS rate for women 22
4.6.8 Meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 23
4.6.9 Meeting the Government of Kenya's 7 per cent real GDP growth rate 23
4.7 Mainstream small business development services available to women
entrepreneurs in Kenya 23
4.7.1 Formal financial support for MSEs 23
4.7.2 Microfinance mechanisms of mainstream commercial banks 24
4.7.3 Informal financial support 24
4.7.4 Accumulating Savings and Credit Associations (ASCAS) 25
4.7.5 The role played by NGOs 25
4.8 Formal and informal financial support 25
4.8.2 Business Development Services 27
4.8.3 Access to infrastructure 28
4.8.4 Access to risk insurance cover services 28
4.8.5 Technology transfer institutions 28
4.8.6 Donor initiatives 29
5. Summary, conclusions and recommendations 30
5.1 Summary of the secondary desk research 30
5.1.1 Scope 30
5.1.2 Definition and support 30
5.1.3 Policies 30
5.1.4 Barriers and constraints 30
5.1.5 Support mechanisms 31
Women Entrepreneurs in Kenya vii
5.2 Conclusions 31
5.3 Recommendations 32
5.4 Hypothesis for the primary data 32
Bibliography 34
Appendix 1: Second Sessional Paper No. 2 of 2005, Development of Micro and
Small Enterprise for Wealth and Employment Creation for Poverty
Reduction: Gender Equity Objectives 38
Appendix 2: 360 degree approach to researching women entrepreneurs 39
List of tables
Table 1: Employment generation by MSEs (2000-2004). 4
Table 2: Recorded employment in the informal sector in MSEs: June 2000-2004 5
Table 3: Percentage distribution of men and women in MSE employment 5
Table 4: Number of persons engaged in the informal sector 2000-2004 6
Table 5: Wage employment by sex, 2003 and 2004 6
Table 6: Start-up and additional capital for MSEs 26
Table 7: Main source of start-up and additional capital 26

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Stuart Basefsky                   
Director, IWS News Bureau                
Institute for Workplace Studies 
Cornell/ILR School                        
16 E. 34th Street, 4th Floor             
New York, NY 10016                        
Telephone: (607) 255-2703                
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