Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) especially those run by women entrepreneurs continue to face a number of challenges. Key among them are social-cultural barriers, lack of adequate education and skills, managerial limitation, access to credit and insecurity. This article briefly examines the managerial and technical skills issues facing women entrepreneurs.
Anthony M. Wanjohi:
A study by Olinda (2011) on the challenges facing women in small scale enterprises in Mariguine slums in Nairobi sought to find out the kind of managerial and technical skills issues women entrepreneurs in Mariguine encountered in running their enterprises. During the interview, the study found that most of women entrepreneurs had received some skills although not much. Some key skills and abilities they had acquired in carrying out the managerial practice included customer treatment. However, it was noted that majority of the women entrepreneurs had not attained any training in carrying out the managerial practices. A good number of them indicated that they had attained a little of the managerial skills and abilities through on-the-job training (experience). Further, only a few indicated that they had acquired the managerial skills from the formal training institutions.
With regard to the technical skills that help them to run their business, a majority of women entrepreneurs in the study reported that they did not posses any technical skill as such. Experience in terms of business operation was cited as the most common means of skill acquisition among women entrepreneurs.
Women were generally found to score averagely in terms of managerial and technical skills levels.
The study found that 60 per cent of the women entrepreneurs who participated in the study were average in terms of their managerial skills. There was a however a considerable number (25 per cent) who were rated poor.
It is generally acknowledged that women entrepreneurs especially in developing countries not only lack managerial and technical skills but have poor education background partly attributed to gender disparity. Therefore, effective operation of business function remains a great challenge for women entrepreneurs. Women businesses are by and large characterized by stagnation, with no new business ideas and marked growth.
Olinda, I. (2011). Challenges Facing Women Enterpreneurs in Small Scale Enterprises in Mariguine Slums in Nairobi. Unpublished Thesis. Tangaza College.