Challenges faced by women entrepreneurs A case study of

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International Journal of Development and Sustainability Vol 3 No 3 2014 466 480. 1 Introduction, The entrepreneurial potential of women has been acknowledged as governments seek to accelerate. economic growth and to attract more women towards new venturing Singh and Belwal 2008 Butler 2003. cited by Cooper 2011 According to Brush and Cooper 2012 women businesses is one of the fastest. growing entrepreneurial populations in the world They make significant contributions to innovation . employment and wealth creation in all economies Andretsche 1990 Headd 2000 Reynolds 2000 Brush. and Cooper 2012 Women have been consistently launching new enterprises at twice the rate of men and. their growth rate of employment and revenue has outpaced the economy Heilman and Chen 2003 Women. often venture into entrepreneurship with little resources available to them and the result is that they are. more likely to go into industries such as retail or personality services where the cost of entry is low so is the. growth potential In Zimbabwe there has been the realization that women contribute significantly towards. GDP and employment since the economic woes of 2007 and 2008 Women played a critical role and ensured. the survival of families through cross border trade However the phenomenal growth of women owned. businesses have remained slow for at least three decades in many economies . Despite the apparent benefits of women entrepreneurs to an economy the full potential of the women. entrepreneurs sector has not been unleashed Women entrepreneurs are today at crossroads The existing. incentive system no more meets the needs of the sector and the challenges posed by the new economy New. incentives and support to women entrepreneurs are imperative to help them build capabilities and to stay. ahead of competition both locally and in overseas markets In many economies governments seek to develop. programmes to attract retain and advance women thus it is hoped that the results of this research will be. used to design and implement remedial programme strategies and ongoing research to support women. entrepreneurs In addition the findings of this research are expected to be beneficial to women. entrepreneurs who wish to start and grow their businesses and to institutions whose intention is to assist. more women to venture into businesses in Zimbabwe . 2 Statement of the problem, A closer look at the business world reveals that it is ruled by men Despite representing 52 of the. population in the country women in general are faced with multitude of challenges in business Women. entrepreneurs have not been able to achieve their full potential in a male dominated business society due to. the innumerable constraints they face in their endeavour to set up viable business ventures Most women. entrepreneurs are mainly practicing cross border trade and some are informal Manyoni 2011 It is hoped. that the results of this research will unveil the impediments to the growth of businesses owned by women so. as to attract international attention to help alleviate the problems . ISDS www isdsnet com 467, International Journal of Development and Sustainability Vol 3 No 3 2014 466 480. 3 Justification of the study, Storey 2010 state that there is no greater initiative a country can take to accelerate the pace of. entrepreneurial activity than to encourage more women to participate It has been established that male rate. of entrepreneurial activity range from over 3 times that of females especially in the developing world . whereas it is almost identical in the developed world Reynolds et al 2003 Studies by Nijhawan and Dubas. 2007 found out that entrepreneurial activities result in spill over benefits thus satisfying the. characteristics of a public good Studies are abound to cite challenges faced by entrepreneurs in general but. none to the best knowledge of the researcher focus on challenges that arise as a result of the inevitable. gender differences in Zimbabwe This study therefore seeks to fulfill this research gap . 4 Literature review,4 1 Constraints faced by women entrepreneurs.
Literature cites a number of constraints that women face as they endeavour to start and grow their. businesses and these challenges are inevitably gender related . 4 1 1 Cultural constraints, Cultural constraints inhibit the efficient conduct of business by women In Africa the cultural value entails. that the men or husband becomes the bread winner A woman exhibiting her entrepreneurial prowess is. presumed as wanting to take over the leadership role of a husband A study by Barwa 2003 on women. entrepreneurs in Vietnam showed that women face additional handicaps due to the prevailing social and. cultural gender based inequalities and biases Although women have made significant strides towards sexual. equality in areas such as education and the workplace their position as the family mainstay in terms of. parenting and homemaking remains relatively unchanged Winn 2004 cited by McGowan et al 2012 . 4 1 2 Lack of capital, The barriers that women entrepreneurs face in accessing credit from formal institutions is magnified in view. of their limited access to formal education ownership of property and social mobility Ayadurai 1987 A. study by Karim 2001 established that financial problems were the most common problems faced by. women entrepreneurs in Bangladesh and inadequate financing was ranked first A variety of studies Boden. and Nucci 2000 Du Rietz and Henrekson 2000 Watson 2003 found out that women were more likely to. discontinue their businesses although not because of business failure but because of financial constraints . Ayadurai 1987 adds to this view by stating that women s inexperience of negotiating with the banks and. their lack of financial confidence to argue for what they are entitled to are some of the problems they face in. obtaining loans Male members think it is a big risk financing the ventures run by women and many financial. institutions are sceptical about the entrepreneurial ability of women The bankers consider women loans as. 468 ISDS www isdsnet com, International Journal of Development and Sustainability Vol 3 No 3 2014 466 480. higher risk than men loans and thus put unrealistic and unreasonable securities to get loans to women. entrepreneurs A report by United Nations Industrial Development Organisation UNIDO 2003 suggest that. despite the evidence that women s loan repayment rates are higher than men s women still face more. difficulties in obtaining credit often due to discriminatory attitudes of banks and lending groups . Starcher 1996 suggested that women in developing nations have little access to funds due to the fact. that they are concentrated in poor rural communities with few opportunities to borrow money Women. entrepreneurs also lack external funding because of their inability to provide tangible securities thus the. result is that they are forced to rely on their savings and loans from relatives and friends According to. Garland 2006 banks tend to exaggerate the likelihood of default of women entrepreneurs hence impose. unrealistically high collateral requirements which results in credit rationing . According to Indarti and Langenberg 2005 several empirical studies have concluded that the lack of. access to capital and credit schemes and the constraints of financial systems are regarded by potential. entrepreneurs as main hindrances to business innovation and success in developing economies Marsden . 1992 Meier and Pilgrim 1994 Steel 1994 cited by Indarti and Langenberg 2005 Potential sources of. capital may be personal savings extended family networks community saving and credit systems or. financial institutions and banks Robinson 1993 found that informal sources of credit though with high. interest rates constitute very substantial contributions to business start ups in developing countries . 4 1 3 Lack of access to information, Availability of business information is similarly important for the intention to initiate a new enterprise Singh. and Krishna 1994 cited by Indarti and Langenberg 2005 in their studies of entrepreneurship in India . pointed out that eagerness in information seeking is one of the major entrepreneurial characteristics . Information seeking refers to the frequency of contact that an individual makes with various sources of. information The result of this activity is most often dependent on information accessibility either through. individual efforts and human capital or as a part of a social capital and networking Access to new. information is indispensable for the initiation survival and growth of firms Duh 2003 Kristiansen 2002 . Mead and Liedholm 1998 Swierczek and Ha 2003 cited by Indarti and Langenberg 2005 . 4 1 4 Networking, Social networks have an impact on the likelihood of successful entrepreneurial endeavour Many of the.
problems women face appear to relate to women s relative lack of exposure to the world of business It has. been noted that women s business networks are poorly developed as social assets yet effective networking. can provide significant advantages for women entrepreneurs Linehan and Scullion 2008 by helping to. provide a competitive edge in business Miller et al 2007 Networks represent a means for entrepreneurs to. reduce risks and transaction costs and also to improve access to business ideas knowledge and capital. Aldrich and Zimmer 1986 cited by Indarti and Langenberg 2005 Through networking they can gain advice. Bruderl and Preisendorfer 1998 cited by McGowan et al 2012 support Greve and Salaff 2003 acquire. tacit knowledge Linehan and Scullion 2008 form strategic alliances Tonoyan et al cited by McGowan et al . ISDS www isdsnet com 469, International Journal of Development and Sustainability Vol 3 No 3 2014 466 480. 2012 look for business opportunities Farr Wharton and Brunetto 2007 cited by McGowan et al 2012 and. acquire credibility and legitimacy for themselves and their business Carter and Shaw 2006 cited by. McGowan et al 2012 In a more general way society s views are largely negative about women. entrepreneurs who associate and network with others in business Ayadurai 1987 Marketing means. mobility and confidence in dealing with the external world both of which women have been discouraged. from developing by social conditions Starcher 1996 . The confidence to travel across day and night and even different regions and states are less found in. women compared to male counterparts This shows the low level of freedom of expression and freedom of. mobility of the women entrepreneurs In his study in Tanzania among small scale garment and carpentry. industries Kristiansen 2003 cited by Indarti and Langenberg 2005 found that social network has. significant relationship with business adaptability In the executive world women have cited exclusion from. male dominated networks as a major barrier to their advancement to corporate ranks Knouse and Webb. 2001 Robinson and Stubberub 2009 cited by McGowan et al 2012 Tonge 2008 suggests that females. choose not to enter into male networks due to low self confidence while others indicate that because. women are relatively new to business ownership they are only just developing their networks McGowan. and Hampton 2006 , The study of entrepreneurship has increasingly reflected the general agreement that entrepreneurs and. new companies must engage in networks to survive Huggins 2000 cited by Indarti and Langenberg 2005 . A social network consists of a series of formal and informal ties between the central actor and other actors in. a circle of acquaintances and represents channels through which entrepreneurs get access to the necessary. resources for business start up growth and success Kristiansen 2003 cited by Indarti and Langenberg . 2005 ,4 1 5 Work family responsibilities, Business success depends on the support the family members extend to women in the business process and. management The interest of the family members is a determinant factor in the realisation of women folk. business aspirations Research has shown that family life has a dramatic impact on the progress of female. executives with young children McGowan et al 2012 . Fasci and Valdez 1998 and Birley 1989 suggest that multiple demands on many women s time reduce. the time they can devote to business Having primary responsibility for children home and older dependent. family members few women can devote all their time and energies to their business Starcher 1996 Stoner. et al 1990 as cited in Maysami et al 1999 found that the work home conflict the tension caused by the. dual responsibility of managing a business and maintaining a family to be the main stumbling block for. female business owners Karim 2001 found out that balancing time between the enterprise and the family. were ranked as major start up problems Their access to the essential abilities skills and experiences for. business is also adversely affected by various constraints on their mobility often due to their dual. household and triple community roles and responsibilities Ayadurai 1987 It is grounded in women s. gendered experiences of education and work and due to the demands of their reproductive and household. 470 ISDS www isdsnet com, International Journal of Development and Sustainability Vol 3 No 3 2014 466 480. roles their lack of key dedicated time to be able to explore and nurture their own resources Ayadurai . 1987 Longstreth et al 1987 cited by McGowan et al 2012 foun. Studies are abound to cite challenges faced by entrepreneurs in general but none to the best knowledge of the researcher focus on challenges that arise as a result of the inevitable gender differences in Zimbabwe This study therefore seeks to fulfill this research gap 4 Literature review 4 1 Constraints faced by women entrepreneurs

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