International Journal of Business and Social Science
Vol. 1 No. 2; November 2010
The Effect of Microfinance Factors on Women Entrepreneurs’ Performance in Nigeria: A Conceptual Framework
Isidore Ekpe1 Norsiah Binti Mat 2 Razli Che Razak3 College of Business, Universiti Utara Malaysia, 06010 Sintok, Darul Aman, Malaysia E-mail: email@example.com 1, firstname.lastname@example.org 2, email@example.com 3
Abstract Women play a crucial role in the economic development of their families and communities but certain obstacles such as poverty, unemployment, low household income and societal discriminations mostly in developing countries have hindered their effective performance of that role. As such, most of them embark on entrepreneurial activities to support their families. It is discovered that women entrepreneurship could be an effective strategy for poverty reduction in a country; since women are the worst hit in such situation. However, it is discovered that women entrepreneurs, especially in developing countries, do not have easy access to microfinance factors for their entrepreneurial activity and as such have low business performance than their men counterparts, whereas the rate of their participation in the informal sector of the economy is higher than males, and microfinance factors could have positive effect on enterprise performance. The objective of this study is to examine the effect of credit, savings, training and social capital on women entrepreneurs’ performance in Nigeria. The study involves a survey using structured questionnaire and an indepth interview to solicit responses from women entrepreneurs, and secondary data from microfinance institutions. Data analysis involves the use of Structural Equation Modelling. Keywords: Microfinance, women entrepreneurs’ performance, Nigeria.
Despite the crucial role of women entrepreneurs in the economic development of their families and countries; it is, however, discovered that women entrepreneurs have low business performance compared to their male counterparts (Akanji, 2006); and this is caused by factors which normally affect entrepreneurial performance. Such factors include lack of credit, saving, education or training, and social capital (Shane, 2003). Literature supports the fact that women entrepreneurs, mostly in developing countries, do not have easy access to credit for their entrepreneurial activity (Ibru, 2009; Iganiga, 2008; Iheduru, 2002; Kuzilwa, 2005; Lakwo, 2007; May, 2007; Okpukpara, 2009), whereas the rate of women participation in the informal sector of the economy is higher than males (Akanji, 2006; Akinyi, 2009). Lack of capital to start or run business led them to request for credits from micro-finance institutions (Ibru, 2009; Kuzilwa, 2005). This is due to poverty, unemployment, low household and business income and inability to save (May, 2009; Otero, 1999; Porter & Nagarajan, 2005; Roomi & Parrot, 2008). Women entrepreneurs, mostly in developing countries, lack the ability to save (Akanji, 2006; Mkpado & Arene, 2007), yet savings are needed to protect income, act as a security for loan and could be re-invested in the business (Akanji, 2006).
2002. lack social connections that are a source of information for access to micro-finance factors (Olomola. and so cannot make good use of micro-finance factors (Karnani. Again. 2007). social capital has been widely measured and found to have positive impact on the performance of women enterprises in developing countries (e. 2001. Cheston & Kuhn. Appropriate use of acquired resources through good business strategy and organizational design could lead to business performance (Brana. 2003). Wycklam & Wedley. Shane. Cheston & Kuhn. 2006. 2003). Nigeria inclusive. especially in developing countries (Ibru. 2008. Whereas the Entrepreneurship Theory (Shane. Kuzilwa.ijbssnet. training is a very important micro-finance factor for women entrepreneurs as it would provide the skills and experience needed for business (Akanji. 2006. 2006. Cheston & Kuhn. Women entrepreneurs. 2009. especially in developing countries.© Centre for Promoting Ideas. Shane. 2002. Acquisition of micro-finance could also lead to opportunity for entrepreneurial activity. Olomola. and women entrepreneurs’ performance (e. Koontz & Weihrich.. 2004. Many studies abound on the relationship between one or a combination of credit. Cheston & Kuhn. skills or knowledge acquired through work experience. 2005). 2009). Salman. especially in developing countries. whereas the exploitation of entrepreneurial opportunity depends on the entrepreneur’s level of education. 2002). Kuzilwa. Literature supports the fact that majority of micro-finance institutions’ clients do not have specialized skills.g Brata. 2007). Again.
. savings. yet women entrepreneurs mostly in developing countries lack this (Brana. 2009. Ibru. hence the need for training as a micro-finance factor especially in developing economies is highlighted. Ibru. 2003). Social capital is vital for start-ups and growing firms and women entrepreneurs. since they could make weekly savings as well as contribute to group savings. 2006. Kuzilwa. Paid employment provides prior business experience that is vital for enterprise success. and women entrepreneurs in highincome countries are better educated than those in low income countries (Ibru. Again. 2009). Cheston & Kuhn. 2006. 2007) and entrepreneurial process is a vital source of developing human capital as well as plays a crucial role in providing learning opportunity for individuals to improve their skills.g Akanji. 2009. Roomi & Parrot. 2002. Literature confirms that skill training and tertiary education have positive effect on enterprise performance (Akanji. savings. 2009). Olomola. and their decision to exploit such opportunities leads to the demand for micro-finance in terms of resource acquisition..com
Savings as a micro-finance factor enable people with few assets to save. low educational levels and other societal discriminations (Porter & Nagarajan. 2005. and such savings are mobilized by the micro-finance institutions for further lending to other clients (Mkpado & Arene. 2007). Vob & Muller. training and social capital. the effect of training on women entrepreneurs’ performance. Education is related to training. Taking cognizance of the peculiar situations of most women in developing countries in terms of poverty. Reavley & Lituchy. 2002. Lawal et al. Many women lack this. Kuzilwa. 2005. 2005). training and social capital to women entrepreneurs’ performance especially in developing countries. attitudes and abilities (Brana. savings. there are suggestions from literature of the need to study credit jointly with training on entrepreneurship performance in developing countries because of low educational levels of women entrepreneurs in low-income countries (Harrison & Mason. 2003) and the moderating relationship between attitude to risk and women entrepreneurs’ performance (Crisp & Turner. Peter. especially in developing countries lack training (IFC. Tazul. 2005. 2002). 2008. Peter. USA
www. 2003) but there is scarcity of research that jointly links credit. 2008). 2007. 2008. 2005. Shane. 2002. 2002). Also. has not been adequately addressed in the literature. 2003) postulates that business environment provides opportunity for entrepreneurial activities to those entrepreneurs who could identify them. 2007. Lawal et al. limited studies are available on the mediating relationship between opportunity and women entrepreneurs’ performance (Tata & Prasad. Women entrepreneurs in this context lack credit. 2002. This further strengthens the need for training as a micro-finance factor for the women entrepreneurs. 2009. Kuzilwa. 2007. 2009. hence they need training. Olomola. Mkpado & Arene. social network and credit (Shane. training and social capital for entrepreneurial activity and subsequent business performance (Akanji. 2008). 2008. 2001.
2009). business or contract (Van Horne. Iganiga. 2008. Stephen & Wilton. Srinivasan & Sriram. 2004. and great likelihood to access micro-finance but may not utilize the opportunity if he/she fears risk. 1999. micro-finance factors could not lead to business performance without opportunity for entrepreneurial activity. Kuzilwa. 2(N. In the same vein. Financial management theorists believe that funds could only be sourced to finance a predetermined project. 2008. 1 No. and studies worldwide have shown that low economic development and high poverty in a country is due to that country’s inability to develop her financial sector (Chakraborty. Credit had positive impact on business performance of entrepreneurs in Kenya (Peter. Martin. specifically the Intention Theory (Ajzen. 2009. 2009). As such. the Nigerian government has encouraged vulnerable women to form Women Cooperatives Societies. 1991) concluded that attitude towards behavior leads to intention which eventually leads to actual behavior. Such distresses often hinder economic development and increases poverty level in a country. Rushad. 1991 and 2000 (Ikhide & Alawode. Mkpado & Arene.B. 2001). Savings acts as insurance for credit since women entrepreneurs lack physical collaterals (Akanji. 2003) stated that entrepreneur’s ability to discover and exploit opportunity for entrepreneurial activity differs between individuals and depends on individual’s attitude towards risktaking. 2003). Limited studies are also available on attitude towards risk-taking moderating the relationship between micro-finance factors. and women entrepreneurs’ performance (Crisp & Turner. investment. income and wellbeing of women in Uganda (Lakwo. 2007. Peter. 2003). As such. For instance. 2008. November 2010
Again. Ojo. William & Thawatchai. 2. an individual may have an innovation business or service idea. 2005.International Journal of Business and Social Science
Vol.g Crisp & Turner. 1999. 2009). Peter. Mohd & Hassan. this study examines the relationship between micro-finance factors (credit. 2008). as groups. Vob & Muller.
International Labor Organization National Bureau of Statistics of Nigeria 3 Central Intelligence Agency-The World Factbook-Nigeria
. Kuzilwa. 2008. Such enterprises would serve as a tool for improving their quality of life in particular and economy of the country in general. employment and welfare of the entrepreneurs (Kuzilwa. Entrepreneurship theory (Shane. 2009). micro-finance could only lead to business performance when there is the tendency to engage in new business or business expansion (Antoncic. 2007). 2001). especially women. output. Savings has been found to have positive effect on enterprise productivity in Nigeria (Ojo. Lakwo. Nigeria’s inability to develop her financial sector led to occasional banks distress which necessitated the financial sector reforms in 1987. is often seen in improved income.A.L. 2005. Roomi & Parrot. a person may not search for or discover entrepreneurial opportunity if he/she has a negative attitude towards risk-taking. 2006. Other supporting behavioral theorists (e. 2005. Behavioral theories such as the Theory of Planned Behavior. Lakwo. 2006. Credit and training had positive impact on women entrepreneur’s performance in Tanzania (Kuzilwa.
Evidences from literature show that adequate credit aids entrepreneurship performance (Gatewood et al. savings. 1999). In the light of this. 2001). 2003). 2009). 1980). high poverty and high unemployment 1(I. 2007) found that attitude and behavioral intention are positively related.. Based on the discussions above. 2007. Credit and savings had positive impact on performance in Nigeria (Ojo. opportunity for entrepreneurial activity. 2007. high birth rate and low death rate. 2004. 3(C. The result of such credit assistance to entrepreneurs. 2007).S. 2006.O. Other studies base their arguments on a country’s inability to develop her entrepreneurships (John. Martin. high population. training and social capital) and women entrepreneurs’ performance in Nigeria. 2001) leading to the licensing of 793 micro-finance banks in 2006. Shane. so as to access microfinance factors for business activities or improvements. Micro-finance factors and enterprise performance is vital to Nigeria due to her poor economic indices portrayed by low GDP growth rate. Versluysen. a risk-averse individual is less likely to exploit entrepreneurial opportunity (Shane.I. 2007. 2005). 2008.
As such. Skill training is necessary to provide the needed entrepreneurial skill for small business start-up while business or management training provides the needed managerial competence for routine and corporate decisions (Cunha. however little the training may be (Ibru. Micro-finance factors create opportunity for entrepreneurial activity (Shane. savings. Stohmeyer. opportunity in the market. 2008). 2009. Ghana. 2008). 2008. Therefore we hypothesize that: H3: Opportunity mediates the relationship between credit. 2005. Jill et al. Jill et al. 2008. 2009). Tanzania and Canada respectively (Ibru. identified through innovation. Malawi and Nigeria (UNCDF/UNDP. savings. 2002). 2009. 2003). 2008. training and social capital are positively related to opportunity for entrepreneurial activity of women entrepreneurs in Nigeria. 2009. USA
www. Training was found to have positive effect on entrepreneurial activity in Nigeria and Germany respectively (Ibru. 2003).. credit. Shane. The discovery of business opportunity and the decision to exploit the opportunity leads to a search for external funds. Credit and savings were found to have positive effect on opportunity for entrepreneurial activity in Nigeria (Akanji. in terms of new business or business expansion. 2008). 2006. 2009). The ability of women entrepreneurs to make use of the opportunity provided by micro-finance factors to ensure enterprise performance depends on their attitude to risk. Lawal et al. Kuzilwa. Lans et al. Social capital provides opportunity for women entrepreneurs to network so as to access information and resources for business (Tata & Prasad.ijbssnet. savings. Shane. training and social capital were found to have positive effect on entrepreneurial activity in UK and USA respectively (Carter & Shaw.. lacked social connections that are a source of credit and market information (Olomola. Credit and training were found to have positive effect on entrepreneurial activity in France (Brana. 2007. training and social capital. Olomola. 2009. Social capital (networks) creates opportunity for entrepreneurial activity which leads to performance (Allen et al.. 2003). 2005). 2008. 2009. training had positive impact on women entrepreneurship performance in Nigeria. Yet still. USA. Credit. Kuzilwa. 2008). Women entrepreneurs. 2004. 2007. acts as a link between micro-finance factors and women entrepreneurs’ performance. training and social capital are positively related to women entrepreneurs’ performance in Nigeria.
Opportunity for entrepreneurial activity. 2007. Tata & Prasad. Vob & Muller. 2002. Ghana and Mexico (Vonderlack & Schreiner. Shane. as such there is a positive relationship between micro-finance factors and opportunity for entrepreneurial activity. Robinson & Malach.
. especially in developing countries. 2001). 2003). Thus. and women entrepreneurs’ performance in Nigeria. savings and training were found to have positive impact on women entrepreneurs’ income and wellbeing in Haiti. creates the need for microfinance factors which in turn creates opportunity for entrepreneurial profits (Salman.© Centre for Promoting Ideas. Kenya. 2008). and the acquisition of such funds again creates opportunity for entrepreneurial income-generating activity (Shane. 2006). Therefore we hypothesize that: H1: Credit. Brana.. Salman. Mkpado & Arene. 2007. whereas social capital has been found to have positive impact on the performance of women entrepreneurs (Brata. 2006. 2008). depending on the entrepreneur’s attitude to risk (Crisp & Turner.
Micro-finance provide the needed opportunity for entrepreneurs to start or improve business in order to make profit and improve their lives (Allen et al. Reavley & Lituchy. 2003). 2003. 2002). It is reported that micro-finance factors create opportunity for entrepreneurs to generate income (Brana. Roslan & Mohd. We therefore hypothesize that: H2: Credit. 2008). 2007. 2003. Proper application of the resources could lead to business performance (Koontz & Weihrich. that is their ability to access information and willingness to act on the information (Shane.. Indonesia. 2003).com
Credit. 2004.. 2009. training and social capital could have positive impact on opportunity for entrepreneurial activity of women entrepreneurs which could lead to business performance. Shane. Equally suggested by literature is the fact that credit and training should go together. Cheston & Kuhn. Majumdar. savings. Savings and credit was also found to have positive effect on women entrepreneurs’ wellbeing in Bangladesh. Ying. 2007).
education and training. 1 No. It is made up of psychological and demographic factors such as motives. 2003). Exploitation of the opportunity depends on the entrepreneur’s level of education. The theory highlighted four operational measures of performance which are survival.
Entrepreneurship Theory of Shane (2003) states that an entrepreneur’s ability to identify and tap the opportunity provided by the external business environment to start or improve his/her business differs between individuals and depends on individual’s ability to access information and willingness to act upon the information in terms of risk. Industrial sectors such as distribution. profitability/income. November 2010
Opportunity of women entrepreneurs is positively related to women entrepreneurs’ performance in Nigeria. We therefore hypothesize that: H5: H6: Attitude to risk moderates the relationship between credit.
Taking a clue from previous studies that have earlier measured the variables. 2003). credit. and socio-cultural factors also affect discovery of opportunity. and cost-benefit analysis of the business (Shane. Others elements of the theory include self-employment. 2007). attitude to risk. evaluation of the opportunity and the decision to exploit the opportunity. 2006. 2007) and that attitude towards behaviour leads to intention which eventually leads to actual behaviour (Ajzen. 2.International Journal of Business and Social Science H4:
Vol. 2004. The concentration of industries in a particular location could also influence discovery of entrepreneurial opportunity by those in that location (Shane. Opportunities are created by the institutional or external environment for those entrepreneurs who could identify them to start or improve their businesses and subsequently. Stohmeyer. Shane. Studies have found that attitude and behavioural intention are positively related (Crisp & Turner.
This research is underpinned on the Entrepreneurship Theory of Shane (2003). that is their attitude (Shane. political. capital availability. 2003. Riding. For example. and appropriate decision at this stage leads to the decision to exploit the opportunity (Shane. Evaluation of the identified opportunity is another stage in the entrepreneurial process. financial. training. 1990. and women entrepreneurs’ performance in Nigeria. The decision to exploit the opportunity depends on the intention of the entrepreneur. 2008. Type of industry also affect opportunity discovery. Ability to access information and willingness to act upon the information in terms of risk could be inferred to represent attitude to risk. social networks. social capital. catering. Entrepreneurs’ ability to identify and tap such opportunities differs between entrepreneurs. agriculture. social capital. Changes in business environment such as economic. career experience. Carter & Shaw. 2003). 1991). and opportunity. growth. laws concerning private enterprise and property rights. savings. Individual attributes affect discovery of entrepreneurial opportunity. political stability. and the appropriate measure of entrepreneurial decision-making is intention which leads to recognition of entrepreneurial opportunities (Shane. income level of the entrepreneur. Attitude to risk has positive effect on women entrepreneurs’ performance in Nigeria. opportunity and attitude to risk are positively related to women entrepreneurs’ performance in Nigeria. Profitability refers to new surplus of revenue over cost while experiencing initial public offer refers to the sale of stock to the public (Shane. The theory consists of opportunity discovery. skills or knowledge acquired through work experience. and business services are more attractive to entrepreneurs (Brana. 259
. manufacturing. and desire for enhanced social status by the entrepreneur could affect discovery of entrepreneurial opportunity. legal. their welfare (North. business operation and performance. 2003). savings.. 2003). we could hypothesize that: H7: Credit. and experiencing initial public offering. and in determining the composite effect of micro-finance factors on women entrepreneurs’ performance. It also depends on their ability to access information and willingness to act upon the information in terms of risk. Shane. 2003). 2003). age and social status. Gatewood et al. 2006. training. Survival refers to continuation of entrepreneurial activity while growth refers to increase in the venture’s sales and employment.
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