Participation of Women in Small Scale Enterprises in Nairobi: A Study of Wakulima, Burma and Kariokor Markets Areas.

This study of Women in Small Scale enterprise in Nairobi, Kenya, explores the potential of women entrepreneurs and their contribution to economic development. It is set within the context of an on -going informal sector debate, which originated in the 1970s, concerning unemployment and rural to urban migration. The study focuses on the social economic implications, types of business they operate and the constraints faced by women entrepreneurs in Nairobi.

The research identifies two forms of small scale enterprise run by women in Nairobi. Those run by women entrepreneurs who have settled in Nairobi (fixed mode), and those run by women who make regular visits to Nairobi for the purpose of conducting business (non fixed mode).

The study was carried out in three site areas namely Burma: Kariokor and Wakulima Markets. The sampling was based on female owned enterprises in Nairobi. Both social and business profiles were examined.

Major research findings of the study are that marital status, education and training are important factors determining the type of business to operate. Further training and education are important factors in the acquisition of managerial skills. Women's participation in business (i.e. amount of income earned) is determined by a number of factors such as education, marital status, sales, number of children and record keeping. However, women are heavily concentrated in service and trading activities which are paradoxically less likely to be profitable due to several limitations they face.

 The main recommendations of the study provide a gender specific policy and an enabling environment inorder to promote and strengthen women activities in urban areas.

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