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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Socio-Economic Constraints Women Face When Running Micro-Enterprises: A Comparative Case Study in Southern Malawi
Authors:Edriss, Abdi-Khalil
Kamvani, Esnart
Periodical:Eastern Africa Journal of Rural Development
Geographic term:Malawi
women entrepreneurs
small enterprises
business financing
Women's Issues
Development and Technology
Economics and Trade
Cultural Roles
Equality and Liberation
Sex Roles
Status of Women
Abstract:Despite the economic support women are getting from loan schemes for their microenterprises, most female-owned microenterprises do not survive the first year or the first six months compared to male-owned microenterprises. The objectives of this study were to identify factors that led to the collapse of most female-owned microenterprises, and the constraints women faced in their businesses in southern Malawi. The study was conducted in 1999-2000 in Zomba district, where banking groups are actively involved in economic empowerment and in promoting microenterprises among women entrepreneurs. Of the 520 microenterprises supported by five rural banking groups, a total of 120 (60 single women and 60 married women) from all the banking groups were randomly sampled for the study. Businesses run by married women were performing better than those run by single women. Husbands were playing key roles in their wives' businesses because often there was joint ownership. The husbands helped their wives technically, with business decisions, and gave them encouragement and financial support, as indicated by a strong positive relationship between the roles of the husbands and married women's business performance. The main constraints that hindered women in business were paying school fees for their children (48.6 percent), buying food items (35 percent), sickness of children (32.4 percent), selling similar products (18.9 percent), difficulties in paying back loans in weekly instalments (23.3 percent) and unexpected rises in the price of goods (30.5 percent) in the study area. Bibliogr., sum. [Journal abstract]