An Assessment of the Choice of Performance of Women Entrepreneur in Technological and Non-technological Enterprises
- To assess the factors responsible for the choice of either technological and non-technological enterprise by women.
- To assess the factors that influence the performance of women in service and manufacturing in the micro and small-scale enterprises of the Nigerian economy.
This chapter covers the following areas of the study: The first part presents theoretical review of the study. The second part explores the empirical literature review of the study. The third part provides a literature gaps to be covered by the study. This chapter is divided into; key conceptual issues, theoretical literature, empirical literature and theoretical framework, support for women entrepreneurs, women entrepreneur development, barriers for women entrepreneurship and conceptual frame work. Under the conceptual issues, terms used in this research will be defined. The theoretical literature looks at some of the theories of entrepreneurship.
Definition of the Key Terms
This subsection provides definitions of key concepts such as entrepreneurship, human resources as well as socio-economic development from various activities.
Factors are influences which may be Personal, organizational, economic, sociocultural, legal or administrative that affect women entrepreneurs overall activities and operations in MSEs (Brush, 1992).
According to (Milanzi, 2012), Entrepreneurship can be defined as the process of using private initiative to transform a business concept into a new venture or to grow and diversify an existing venture or enterprise with high growth potential. In addition, (Hisrich, Langan-Fox, & Grant, 2007) defined entrepreneurship as follows: entrepreneurship is the process of creating something new with value by devoting the necessary time and effort, assuming the accompanying financial, psychic, and social risks, and receiving the resulting rewards of monetary and personal satisfaction and independence.
Timmons & Spinneli (2007) define entrepreneurship as a way of thinking, reasoning and acting that is opportunity obsessed, holistic in approach, and based on leadership balance. From the selected definitions of entrepreneurship in this study, there is agreement that we are talking about a kind of behavior that includes: initiative taking, the organizing and re-organizing of social and economic mechanisms to turn resources and situations to practical account and finally the acceptance of risk or failure. Nevertheless, in the case of this study, the researcher opted for a combination of Kilby’s (1971) and Timmons & Spinneli (2007) definition of entrepreneurship.
In this research, women entrepreneurs are defined according to ILO (2003) as female owners of enterprises of which were started, are owned and are managed by women. This definition is in line with that of (Marcellina, et al., 2002) who define women enterprises as ones that were planned, started, owned and managed by women.
Performance is the act of doing something successfully; using knowledge as distinguished from merely possessing it. Performance is measured in terms of survival, growth and profitability (Schoof, 2006).
Moore et al. (2008) define an entrepreneur as an individual who discovers market needs and launches new firms to meet these needs. Kuratko and Hodgetts (2008) define entrepreneurs as individuals who recognize opportunities where others see chaos or confusion and are aggressive catalysts for change within the marketplace. Entrepreneurship is more than the mere act of enterprise creation. Enterprise creation is an important facet in entrepreneurship. The characteristics of seeking opportunity, taking risks beyond security and having the vigor to push an idea through to reality make people with an important mindset (Holt, 1992).
In more recent times, the term entrepreneurship has been extended to include elements not necessarily related to enterprise formation (Hisrich, 2012). Activities like conceptualization of entrepreneurship are a specific mindset resulting in entrepreneurial initiatives like social entrepreneurship, political entrepreneurship and knowledge entrepreneurship. For the purpose of this study, all active owner managers of enterprises are considered as entrepreneurs.
Development of the Entrepreneur
Contrary to the assumption of Western-based models that entrepreneurial career is chosen, in Africa, most entrepreneurs are forced into it by the urgent need to earn a living and survive (Olomi and Rutashobya, 1999). In Africa the expansion of entrepreneurship is curtailed by legal, administrative, socio-economic and political factors rather than the characteristics of entrepreneurs themselves (Lydall, 1992). Given this background, concerted entrepreneurship development is imperative in order to cultivate entrepreneurial talents in the business community.
Characteristics of the Entrepreneur
Several studies have found that demographic characteristics such as age, gender, individual background on education and former work experience all have an impact on entrepreneurial intention and endeavor (Kolvereid, 1996; Mazzarol et al., 1999).
This chapter describes the methodology used in the study of assessment of the factors affecting performance of women entrepreneurs in Lagos state. It covers philosophical underlying the study, research design, and study area, population, sampling methods, variables and measurement procedures, methods of data collection, data processing and analysis as well as ethical consideration.
It is a plan that guides a researcher in the process of collecting, analyzing and interpreting data. It shows the type of research and strategies to be used (Magigi, 2015). A researcher of this study recognizes two types of research design which include exploratory and descriptive design. In this context the study will adopt the descriptive approach; the approach will be greatly adopted by the researcher because is real link to the positivist paradigm, philosophy accepted by this study.
Descriptive research design involve collection of both qualitative and quantitative data by using questionnaire survey sequentially. Van Der Voordt (2002) clarifies the descriptive research design as the approach which is restricted to factual observation rather than explaining the way reality behave, it does not aiming of developing theory and it is based on objectivity or neutrality. In this approach, a survey method of collecting data was employed; it was preferred here because of nature of the study itself which is inductive approach. Magigi (2015) argues that survey allows collection of large amount of data from a sizeable population in highly economical way, often obtained by using questionnaires and/or interviews.
According to Kothari (2007), the term population means an entire group of individuals, events or objects that have common observable characteristics. It refers to all elements that meet certain criteria for inclusion in a given universe.
In this research the population of interest is women entrepreneurs and their representatives’ heads in Lagos state. The total of 100 women entrepreneurs was surveyed. Researcher has consider only women entrepreneurs in Lagos state as an infinite universe from population of the study because they always in and out of the business, second it is economical to take the population of respondents according researcher’s budget. Tabachnick and Fidell (2007) suggest that the unknown population, the sample size is 100 of N > 50 + 8 m for multivariate data analysis (where N is the sample size and m is the number of independent variables) and N > 104 + m for testing individual predictors. Mugenda (2003), explain that the target population should have some observable characteristics, to which the researcher intends to generalize the results of the study. Therefore, the sample size is 100 respondents, based on a formula of N > 50 + 8 m with five independent variables.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS
Demographic and socio economic characteristics
Out of the 53 women in the sample (Table 1) who chose technological ventures, ten (18.9%) of them were between 20 29 years, twenty-two (41.5%) between 30-39 years, sixteen (30.2%) between 40-49 years while only five (9.4%) women were 50 years and above. On the other hand, out of the ninety-one women in non-technological ventures, twelve (13.2%) of them were between 20-29 years, twenty-six (28.6%) between 30-39 years, thirty-three (36.3%) between 40-49 years and twenty two (22%) 50 years and above. The mean age of the women entrepreneurs was 40 years. This result is not much different from the findings of OSSREA, (2005) which reported that women entrepreneurs established their business around the age of thirty-seven.
SUMMARY FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Summary and Conclusions
The research assessed the choice and performance of women in technological and non-technological Micro and Small Scale Enterprises (MSSEs) in Lekki Lagos. Firstly, the research sheds light on the learning mechanism that influences the choice of non-technological or technological ventures by the women. The learning mechanism of the entrepreneurs was found to include self conceptualization, friends, business contacts and associations, internet, radio among others. However access to relevant programmes on television, attendance at trade fairs and community outreach programme organized by government agencies such as extension services, seminar and workshops significantly impacted on the choice of technological ventures by the women.
Secondly, the study showed unemployment as a major motivation for starting non-technological business ownership and personal interest for technological business startups. This result was found to be similar to that obtained from the cross cultural studies of women in Eastern and Central European Countries showing that women go into business as a means of escaping unemployment (Lisowska, 1998; Gundry and Welsch, 2001). However, this study has shown that while unemployment could be a major motivation for nontechnological businesses, the same cannot be said for technological businesses. Women entrepreneurs are inspired into starting technological businesses more on the basis of personal interest than unemployment.
Thirdly, many of the entrepreneurs requested for financial assistance from government to enable their business develop into significant economic contributors and participate in the global economy.
Fourthly, the study investigated some theoretical factors that were responsible for the choice of technological and non technological ventures by the women entrepreneurs. A total of 19 variables were examined with only 8 significantly determining the choice of the women which include; age, role model/mentor, educational background, socio-cultural factor, source of information such as television, trade fairs, and community outreach programmes and last but not the least; previous experience. While age, role model, educational background, socio-cultural factors and previous experience were determinants of the choice of either technological or non-technological ventures, the three learning mechanism (television, trade fairs and community outreach programmes) were more relevant to choosing a technological venture. This results therefore contributes to our understanding that women are prone to start their own businesses at an average age of 40; usually with a role model in the picture or background; having a good educational background (whether in the sciences, engineering or humanities has proved irrelevant); with some form of previous experience; and often restricted from venturing into some ‘masculine’ businesses due to socio-cultural norms, stereotyping and physical nature of some technological ventures. It therefore means that policies and resources can be directed to women who fall into this category to enhance the performance of their businesses.
Fifthly, the performance of the women was investigated. The result identified 6 out of the 27 variables as significantly influencing the performance of the women. These include; business premise status, business growth and expansion, systematic planning and monitoring, persistence, family love and responsibility and training opportunities. This finding supports previous research from the United States and Europe (OSSREA, 2005) on women entrepreneurs which established that performance was related to previous experience, business skills and achievement motivation. Furthermore, the Kruskall Wallis (alternative to one-way analysis of vavariance –ANOVA) test of variance was used to test the hypothesis that there was no significant difference between the factors influencing the performance of the women entrepreneurs in technological and non technological ventures. The factors that significantly influenced the performance of the women in technological venture were found to be the same for non-technological ventures. The null hypothesis was accepted. This shows that the performance of women entrepreneurs (whether in technological or non-technological ventures) are greatly enhanced if they: have a rented, home-based or purchased business premise; are committed to business growth and expansion; are always systematically plan-ing and monitoring the business; are always persisting in the business; are moderate in attending to family love and responsibility (that is, not being sentimental in business); and if they are often given to training opportunities.
Women and men may face different obstacles in the type of business they establish and manage. They need to be supported in different ways when setting up and developing their business. The outcome of the study shows that women were very few in technological based businesses and were not found in businesses such as mining and quarrying, building and construction, and metal fabrications. In addition, the women in retail and service businesses were about twice the women in manufacturingbased businesses. Therefore, there should be special effort and initiatives by the government to remove the socio-cultural bias about the type of business that women or men should engage through the promotion of selfemployment and community-based enterprises of women in technological ventures.
In view that personal interest was a motivational factor in starting technological ventures, effective implementation of technological-based entrepreneurial education in schools would greatly enhance the startup and success of technological enterprises.
Government agencies supporting MSSEs should also undergo guidance and capacity building on how to create a level playing field for women engaged in small enterprises. In addition, government and NGOs should provide and facilitate access to credit for women entrepreneurs, as lack of credit is a major barrier to their innovative capability, performance and growth. Such credit assistance should be channeled through women’s associations. However, no collateral should be required as the women association would guarantee the loans and monitor both repayments and use of credit. In administering the credit, a distinction should be made between the different categories of enterprises, such as technological and non-technological businesses, as well as the needs of particular categories of women entrepreneurs.
This finding suggests the need for Nigerian women to develop innovative skills and culture, network with government agencies or vise versa and develop strategic alliance among them. This would in turn enhance competence in their respective specializations and build the global competitiveness of their firms.
Training opportunities was also identified as an important factor that influenced the performance of the women businesses and especially technological businesses. Government agencies such as Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) and the National Centre for Technology Management (NACETEM) should network with the National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME) to strategically meet the needs and demands of women in Micro and Small Scale Enterprises. Also, concrete assistance is needed from Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in the form of on-the-job training to familiarize the women entrepreneurs with new methods, machines, equipments, processes and management training. Policies and programmes should be directed at developing the Personal Entrepreneurial Characteristics (PEC) in women entrepreneurs; since PEC has been established as having the capability to enhance their performance in the study.
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