Women Entrepreneurs in Kenya
This report has been prepared as part of an Irish-Aid Funded Partnership Programme which,between 2002-2004 worked to promote women's entrepreneurship and gender equality (WEDGE) inEthiopia, United Republic of Tanzania and Zambia. The second phase of (2005-2008) WEDGEexpanded geographically to include Kenya and Uganda and technically to mainstream women withdisabilities in WEDGE activities (DEWD).The report combines the expertise of the ILO's Small Enterprise Programme (SEED) and the Skillsand Employability (SKILLS) Department to emphasize developing the knowledge base on womenentrepreneurs (with and without disabilities) so as to accurately inform strategic interventions inimproving advocacy and support services.Consequently, considerable attention is given to identifying the characteristics, features, aspirations,motivations, needs and wants of women entrepreneurs in Kenya, using a unique 360° approach,(see Appendix 2) with the intention of formulating recommendations for strategic supportinterventions to improve advocacy and access to services. The report also gives a unique insight intowomen entrepreneurs with disabilities in Kenya.This report contributes to the existing body of knowledge on the afore-mentioned aspects relating toenterprise development in Kenya; it also contributes to the ILO's Decent Work Agenda, as well ascontributing to the ILO's follow up to the Ouagadougou Summit on Employment and PovertyAlleviation in Africa. The emphasis on women's entrepreneurship development is also highly relevantto the implementation of the Kenyan Small and Medium Enterprises Act and the upcoming review ofthe Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper.As a result of this review of the existing literature, the Kenyan national research team, the KenyaInstitute of Management has identified and focused on several critical issues that were investigatedfurther during the subsequent field research stage. This report combines an initial desk researchphase and a resulting primary research phase.Based on the secondary research, major questions emerged to guide the field research: What arethe key factors (for example: economic, socio-cultural, legal and regulatory, political, educational andpsychological) that affect women with and without disabilities, in small enterprises in the Kenyancontext? To what extent have the services of BDS providers been accessible, relevant, effective andefficient in relation to the needs of women entrepreneurs? And what interventions are required toeffectively assist women entrepreneurs, in particular women entrepreneurs with disabilities indeveloping and growing their businesses?
DirectorSkills and Employability Department
Programme ManagerSmall Enterprise Programme
DirectorILO Office for East AfricaDar es Salaam