This study aims to present micro level perspective and analysis on gender related challenges on the performance of the female entrepreneurs in Lagos state. It examines structural and factor affecting women entrepreneurs and how specific women interviewed in selected cities, perceive and respond to these. This research helps to identify both human and social capital factor affecting the performance of the female entrepreneurs. Furthermore, it explores the main causes of performance variance among the business owned by female entrepreneurs. Data analysis shows that women entrepreneurs’ personal resource (human and social capital) has an important role in business progress
1.1 Background of the Study
The beginning of business ownership in Nigeria data back to pre and post-colonial era and involved commercial activities such as wholesale and retail trading of which women were pre-dominate. There were also enterprises such as weaving, fishing, food processing, agricultural production, blacksmithing, goldsmithing etc. Much more pre-dominant with the men. Nigeria enjoyed a phenomenal economic growth during the oil boom period of 1973-1980 with per-capital GDP rising from N25,740 in 1971 to N128,700 in 1980. In this period despite the dramatic rise in oil revenues, misdirected government policies left the country’s economy vulnerable public was often focus on costly prestigious and inappropriate infrastructure projects with questionable rate of return. The government also failed to strengthen public finance and pursed expansionary financial policies which created significant inflationary pressures. Inward looking industrial policies also bred a non-competitive manufacturing sector. The Agricultural sector was completely neglected as the real effective exchange rate increased due to oil rising of oil prices. The competitiveness of virtually all non-oil sector of the economy was eroded.
With sustained economic declination individual as well as government increasingly set up encourage entrepreneurship to enrage and possibly eradicate the economic depression. As more Nigeria fail to get employed in the formal and informal section, the need to own a business become more attractive and competitive especially for women who do not have as much opportunity as their male counterpart. There are also associated problem such as difficulty in getting financial, legal trade activities amongst other.
The Nigeria industrial sector is dominated macro and small scale enterprises which constitute 65.5% of industrial establishment. Medium scale enterprises constitute 32% while large scale enterprises make up only about 2.5% of the industrial establishment. In Lagos state Nigeria, both formal and informal economic activities are common large members of women work in the informal sector but their contribution to value added is not included in National account (Soetan, 1995).
There are variety of constraints on women and the ability of women to upgrade their production continuously. This include poor access to access to market information, technology, finance poor linkage with support service and unfavorable policy and regulatory environment.
Furthermore, concerted efforts are needed to enable women to make better economics choices and to transform their business into competitive enterprises, generating income and employment through improved production.
As women increasingly start their own business. Political and economic opportunities for women still remain limited. A number of women 4in career planning are discouraged from following their dreams because their career choice does not fit in with traditional gender roles. Men are discouraged from career in nursing, social work and teaching, while women are discourage from career in technology, science and security. Men who are interested in “feminine” job are teased about their sexuality and women who are interested in “male” jobs are questioned as to whether they have brain or stamina to perform.
Informal economic activities in Nigeria encompass a wide range of small-scale, largely self-employment activities, most of them are traditional occupation and method of production of a particular interest to this study is the informal productive sub-sector which encompasses all economic activities involving the production of tangible goods. They include Agricultural production, mining and quarrying (Excluding petroleum), small-scale manufacturing, building and construction, food production, wood work, furniture making, garment making, welding and iron work among others. These categories are classed “technological entrepreneurs”.
1.2 Statement of Problem
The characteristics of women who start high growth companies in technological industries not establish in literature. More women run non-technological than technological business. Hence research is needed to examine the factors that contribute to the performance of each group as well factors that contribute to the performance of each group as well as those peculiar characteristics that promote the choice and successful practice of technological entrepreneurship by women in southwestern Nigeria. Some important questions that are pertinent to this research work are as follows:
- What are the sources of information available to technological and non-technological entrepreneurs?
- What are the sources of information available to technological and non-technological entrepreneurs prior to stating their business and how adequate are they?
- Are measures for performance or success the same for women in technological and non-technological businesses?
Thus this research attempts to provide answers to the question by comparing women entrepreneurs in technological and non-technological industries in southwestern Nigeria with a view to identifying factors that would enhance performance and encourage more women into owing technological businesses.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
- To develop the women understanding and motivate them to start their own business.
- To develop and strengthen the women entrepreneur quality i.e. motivation or need for more achievement.
- Understanding the process and procedure involve in sitting up a small large enterprises.
- To formulate the women interest for entrepreneurship.
- To know the source of help and support available for starting a technological and non- technological industry.
- To acquire the necessary managerial skills require running an industry.
- To develop a broad vision about industry businesses.
- To prepare the women to accept uncertainty in running a business.
- Significance of the Study
- It will enable the women to be independent.
- It will also create equality between male and female entrepreneurs.
- To increase the gross domestic product (GDP) of the Nation.
- To create enabling environment for women education.
- To distinguish between successful entrepreneurs from un-success ones.
- Enable women possess certain competence or trait.
- Right to compete with their male counterpart
1.5 Research Questions
In this study; these factor and others that are mare relevant to the Nigeria context were collected and surveyed both in the informal sector. Basically two questions prompt this study they are:
- What are the factors responsible for the choice of either service or manufacturing venture by women?
- What factors influence the performance of women in service and manufacturing in the micro and small scale enterprises of Nigeria economy?
1.6 Scope/Delimitation of the Study
The research assessed the choice and performance of women in technological and non-technological micro and small scale enterprises in Lagos state Nigeria. The research sheds light on the learning mechanism that influences the choice of non-technological venture by women. The learning mechanism of the entrepreneurs was found to include conceptualization, friends, business contact, and association, internet, radio among others.
However, access to relevant programmers on television, attendance at trade fairs and community outreach program organized by government agencies such as extension service seminar and workshops significantly impacted on the choice of technological venture by women.