Women play a crucial role in the economic development of communities but certain obstacles such as poverty, unemployment, low household income and societal discriminations mostly in developing countries have hindered their effective performance of that role. As such, most of them embark on entrepreneurial activities to support their families. It is discovered that women entrepreneurship could be an effective strategy for poverty reduction in a country; since women are the worst hit in such situation. However, it is discovered that women entrepreneurs, especially in developing countries, do not have easy access to microfinance factors for their entrepreneurial activity and as such have low business performance than their men counterparts, whereas the rate of their participation in the informal sector of the economy is higher than males and microfinance factors could have positive effect on enterprise performance. The objective of this study is to examine the effect of credit, savings, training and social capital on women entrepreneurs’ performance in Kenya. The study involves a survey using structured questionnaire and an in-depth interview to solicit responses from women entrepreneur and secondary data from microfinance institutions. The instruments were tested for content and construct validity and reliability during a pilot study. Data was analyzed both qualitatively and quantitatively using SPSS programs. The study found out that most women entrepreneurs do not have savings account and rather they usually use their little earnings for house hold purposes. In addition, the study found that most women have no access to loans as it is required that there must be signatory from their spouses for those who are married. The study also found that women entrepreneurs lack appropriate training to boost their entrepreneurial capacity, which is a key ingredient for getting social capital. The study recommended that since women entrepreneurs’ plays crucial role in the economic development, they should receive equal treatment as their counterparts and be allowed to make crucial decisions governing the operations of their businesses. Moreover, women should be encouraged to save their earnings however small. Microfinance institutions should play a vital role in empowering the women entrepreneurial.
Key words: Microfinance, women, micro and small enterprises (MSEs), Kenya.
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