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5 Challenges Women Entrepreneurs Face in Kenya

Every startup needs capital from day one. Many women entrepreneurs in Kenya find it difficult to raise sufficient capital.

Entrepreneurship was once thought to be  a man's sport, but that perception has changed: More than 8 million U.S. companies are now women owned. For the first time, the Center for Women’s Business Research, has utilized a methodology to measure the economic impact of the 8 million U.S. businesses currently majority women-owned. 

That being said, women still continue to face unique challenges in business today. Challenges not often shared by their male counterparts. But being a woman entrepreneur in Kenya is even more difficult. Women entrepreneurs in Kenya face a myriad of problems ranging from from lack of capital, insufficient business management skills, societal biases and prejudice, work- life balance etc.

Here are 5 of the most common challenges women entrepreneurs face in Kenya.

1. Lack of capital.

Every startup needs capital from day one. Many women entrepreneurs in Kenya find it difficult to raise sufficient capital. This essentially relegates them to small scale businesses with no growth prospects. On the other hand, it is very difficult to get loans from financial institutions because most of them require collateral. In many Kenyan cultures, women are not allowed to own property, therefore, they can not use title deeds in the process of acquiring bank loans.

2. Insufficient business management skills

Insufficient business management skills are another problem that women entrepreneurs have to bear with. For a startup to break even and prosper, the proprietor needs sound business management skills. Some of the entrepreneurs lack the prerequisite business management know how and essentially this often leads to the collapse of the venture.

3. Societal prejudice and biases

Societal prejudice and biases also affect women entrepreneurship in Kenya. A large portion of the population still believes that a woman's place is in the kitchen. Hence, a woman venturing in business may be viewed as  societal misfit. These biases, are also witnessed when it comes to  certain ventures. Some business ventures are viewed as a man's job, like opening and operating a garage. Many people do not expect women to venture into this field among many others for it is a “man's job”

4. Employee management and turnover

Employee management and turnover is another problem. This may be viewed in the sense that, many men do not feel comfortable having female bosses and they may not take it well if they are given directives by a woman. Sometimes this leads to loss of employees hence affecting the smooth operations of the startup.

5. Work-life balance.

Women entrepreneurs in Kenya have to balance their business life and managing their homes.Unlike men who are accorded much leeway, women are expected to take care of their homes. Essentially, this leads to overworking and might lead to eventual burn out and finally collapses of the startup.

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