According to the Center for Women’s Business Research, 9 million businesses in the USA are owned by women, which employ 23 million people and create an economic Impact of 3 trillion dollars. If the economic impact were a GDP, it would be the 5th wealthiest country in the world. So if American women are able to create this kind of wealth, Kenyan women can do this too. If we expand the outlook world wide, women own between 25-33% of the world's businesses and contribute to the economic security of families and communities.
In Kenya, women’s businesses are critical to the country’s future, because they not only sustain their families financially but provide employment in their various fields. Women’s businesses add to the income and productivity of a family and community. Kenyan women, and business, are a great fit and, In my observation women almost seem to have a natural ability or aptitude for business. Here are my reasons why.
Family work life Balance
For most Women, raising a family is a priority in their lives. Therefore for women who want to have time with their families, starting a business would be advantageous. In my personal life, I run a business with my husband and we get to spend all day together. It has been one of the best blessings in my life to have time to spend with him while creating a business. For those women who have families, having a business can allow them to make money, employ people, create value and spend time with their families.
Community support is one of those factors that most female business owners complain about. They complain that starting businesses is considered bucking traditional roles and therefore is discouraged by the community. I would beg to differ on this mindset, I don’t know anybody who does not respect success,so when you succeed you will get the respect eventually. If your immediate community does not support you, you should find a new community, that would be positive and encourage and grow your efforts. That is why I love the concept of women chamas, they support one another and contribute to one another’s lives and ambitions. Every female entrepreneur should belong to a chama for the networking, for the support, both financial and emotional, and also as a source future business customers and partners.
Access to Funding
Businesses need money/capital to grow. In the USA according according to a report by Catalyst, businesses with the most females returned sales 42% more than companies with mostly men in the same Industry and if you invested with them, received a return 66% higher than a company run by mostly men. What does this mean for women? That they are a fantastic investment for your money! So with all things equal, for those investment clubs looking to invest in new business, you should really consider women owned businesses, because they not only run better but they are also more profitable and numbers do not lie.
So as a woman looking for funding, If you are a starting out without any assets, some of the micro-finance institutions would be really helpful, but you should aim to create a big business, so keep great records of your sales and expenses, build your business, build your credit and with time be able to qualify for bigger loans to invest in your business. In America there funding sources from banks, venture capitalists, credit facilities and a time is coming where financial services will be abundant in Africa, institutions will be competing to lend money, so create an environment where you can access these funds by creating a great business. For entrepreneurs looking to invest in an emerging market, consider starting such businesses and lend to emerging women business owners, for they are a great investment.
When you think about the word entrepreneur, what Image comes to mind? In my mind it's usually the image of a man, a mover and shaker and making deals. But If I am to be honest and look at my upbringing, most of the entrepreneurs I knew were women. My mother had a clothing business, one of my grandmothers had a shop and the other had a farm, which even after her death in 2013 still employs a couple dozen people.
Society expectations on women are quite different from the actual accomplishments of women in everyday life. It is time women not only own their achievement and be proud of them, but also tell people of them (watch how many times Donald Trump mention his business in a sentence). Notice in your own surroundings that most women have a side business. The expectations of women in this modern society are, women are expected to contribute financially and the best way to do this is through entrepreneurship-in my opinion.
I think Kenyan women have a fantastic opportunity to create real wealth through entrepreneurship, Studies throughout the world show successful women Impact their communities with their resources more than men. So if more women were financial powerhouses, then their families and society as a whole, will greatly benefit from their resources. I greatly encourage women to pursue their business ideas with focus and discipline, because not only is your family depending on you, but the community, and the whole country at large needs your talent, your ideas and your hard work. It is worth the pursuit.