Nezam M.H.Tehrani

Topics: Entrepreneurship, Gender, Nigeria Pages: 24 (8180 words) Published: April 12, 2013
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Challenges facing women entrepreneurs in Nigeria
Daphne Halkias
Center for Family and Young Enterpise, University of Bergamo, Bergamo, Italy

Women entrepreneurs in Nigeria 221

Chinedum Nwajiuba
Imo State University, Owerri, Nigeria

Nicholas Harkiolakis
Metsovio Polytechnic of Athens, Athens, Greece, and

Sylva M. Caracatsanis
University of Exeter, Exeter, UK
Purpose – This study seeks to examine the business and social profiles of 67 women entrepreneurs in three regions of Nigeria in order to identify patterns of entrepreneurship and social and economic challenges facing women business owners in Nigeria. The study aims to support and encourage sustainable small-scale economic development activities by Nigerian women and determine ways to integrate these small businesses into existing urban economic development projects and strategies for poverty alleviation, expand understanding of the business and social profiles of women entrepreneurs in Nigeria, examine the contextual influences on their work, raise the level of awareness of women entrepreneurs amongst all economically active agents and researchers, influence social and economic policy addressing issues of women entrepreneurs. Design/methodology/approach – A survey was developed and administered to a sample of 62 practicing Nigerian female entrepreneurs. The survey was divided into sections that recorded personal demographics, the entrepreneur’s perceptions of the business environment and their venture and the motivations and drives that led to the birth of their business. Data were collected and processed to produce frequency distributions on every question/variable in the survey followed by cross-tabulations between all variables and x 2 tests in order to reveal strong associations. Findings – With no or few significant differences shown to exist between male and female business owners or managers once they have already started an enterprise, there is a strong indication that Africa has sizeable hidden growth potential in its women. From the results presented, it is evident that female entrepreneurship in Nigeria is driven by micro-financing as well as family dynamics that work to shape and influence the birth of a business. Research limitations/implications – Future research initiatives need to explore the gender dimension and the influence of education levels on the role models that influence and drive female entrepreneurship. In addition, the evolution of the complete life cycle of the entrepreneur’s business should be examined and dependencies on the variables presented should be investigated. Finally, research should focus studies whose aim is to influence social and educational policy that encourages women’s entrepreneurship in the fight for poverty alleviation in Africa. Originality/value – Unique contribution with information being provided regarding an area that has not been studied before with a quantitative and qualitative method both within the same study. Keywords Nigeria, Women, Entrepreneurs, Africa, Poverty Paper type Research paper

Management Research Review Vol. 34 No. 2, 2011 pp. 221-235 q Emerald Group Publishing Limited 2040-8269 DOI 10.1108/01409171111102821

MRR 34,2


Introduction Productivity and employment issues are central to West Africa’s social and economic life with recent literature noting that the two constitute a vicious circle that highlights the nature of poverty in its developing national economies, such as Nigeria. This is especially true regarding the economic challenges facing the continent’s women. Contemporary theory holds that continued improvement and hence growth in productivity is the best means of stopping the vicious circle as this builds the basis for adequate supply of goods and services which in turn improves the welfare of citizens and enhances social progress. On the flip side,...

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McLymont, R. (2008), “Wooing women – banks roll out products with gender appeal”, The Network Journal, March, available at: focus.php (accessed April 2, 2008). Nwajiuba, C. (2005), “International migration and livelihoods in south-eastern Nigeria”, Global Commission on International Migration “Global Migration Perspectives”, Paper No. 50, available at: (accessed April 2, 2008). Obadan, M.I. and Odusola, A.F. (2000), Productivity and Unemployment in Nigeria, National Centre for Economic Management & Administration (Ncema), Ibadan, available at: www. (accessed April 13, 2008). Oluwakeyede, B. (2007), “Financing women-owned enterprises in Africa”, The Nigerian Tribune, July 18 (Culled from Business in Africa), available at: banking.html (accessed March 30, 2008). Riddle, D. and Boyede, F. (2003), “Services exports in Nigeria: strategies to assist women entrepreneurs”, International Trade Forum, No. 4, available at: news/fullstory.php/aid/617 (accessed April 13, 2008). United Nations Development Fund for Women (2003), “Breaking new frontiers for Nigerian women entrepreneurs”, United Nations, September 11, press release. Women Thrive Worldwide (2008), Interview, Shade Bembatoum-Young: Why I Support the GROWTH Act, January 24, available at:¼com_ content&task¼view&id¼413&Itemid¼115 (accessed March 30, 2008). Xinhua News Agency (2006), “Nigeria secures 30 mln dollars loan for women entrepreneurs”, November 17, available at: (accessed March 30, 2008). About the authors Daphne Halkias, PhD is a Visiting Professor, Senior Research Fellow, and Consultant for Special Projects to the Executive Vice President at the Hellenic American University, Athens Campus, Greece. Also a Research Associate at the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at The University of California in San Diego, California, USA. Daphne Halkias has held teaching and Department Chair posts at universities in the USA and Greece, as well as clinical and consulting positions at institutions including rehabilitation centers, schools, universities, hospitals, and at the US Embassy in Athens. Aside from her academic career, she is also CEO of Executive Coaching Consultants, an international business consulting firm with consultants based in Athens, New York city and Paris, France. Publications carry her name in research on entrepreneurship, immigration, executive coaching, women’s issues, organizational behavior, education and clinical psychology. Daphne Halkias has been an Invited Guest Speaker at the World Entrepreneurship Summit, the Oxford Conference on Business and Economics, the Global Conference on Business and Economics at Harvard University, and at The Yale Eating Disorders Clinic at Yale University, The Copenhagen Business School, INSEAD, University of Paris Diderot, and The Hellenic Naval Academy. She has also edited two books on recent trends in business and technology and is presently working on one book of cross-national case studies on female immigrant entrepreneurship and another on father-daughter succession issues in family business. Chinedum Nwajiuba holds a B.Agric. (1986) and MSc (1989) in Agricultural Economics (University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria), and a PhD in Agricultural Economics from the University of Hohenheim, Germany (1994). He also holds an MSc in Development Economics from Nigeria’s Imo State University Owerri (2007). A Professor of agricultural economics since 2004, Chinedum Nwajiuba has been involved with teaching and research in diverse areas
including the agricultural, transport, mining, and industrial sectors, as well as socio-economic impact studies. He has been involved in project cycle management, headed the Imo state government Food Basket Programme, worked on consultancy teams for the Local Economic Empowerment Programme sponsored by the European Community, as well as evaluation of projects by the UK Department for International Development evaluating rural and local government projects in Enugu State, Nigeria. He is presently involved with the World Bank sponsored assessment of Fadama 11 Agricultural/Poverty Alleviation projects in Imo State as an Advisory services consultant, and is currently editor of the Journal of Agriculture and Food Sciences (, Associate Dean and Head of the Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension. In the HAU Female Immigration Entrepreneurship Project, Chinedum Nwajiuba serves as an External Consultant on migration issues related to Africa and the African Diaspora. Nicholas Harkiolakis holds a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Athens and has undergraduate and graduate degrees in Physics and Aerodynamics. In the past, he has served as an Associate Professor and Chair of the Computer Science Department of the University of La Verne California, Athens Campus, where he developed and chaired graduate and undergraduate programs in Computer Science, Information Technology, and E-business areas. At present, he is Professor of Information Technology, Chair of the Master’s in Information Technology, and Director of Research at the Hellenic American University in Athens, Greece. In this capacity, Nicholas Harkiolakis has also developed undergraduate and graduate IT programs. Professionally, he has 25 years of experience in development and implementation of business information systems and he continues to consult in that area. His research interests extend to the areas of business information systems, optimization, bioinformatics, artificial intelligence, and simulation and modeling. Sylva M. Caracatsanis graduated in 1997 from the University of La Verne California, Athens Campus, with a BSc in Psychology. Professional activities have since focused on writing and editing in publications spanning the international medical, business, and finance sectors. Other recent professional experience includes management level positions held at Starbucks International Coffee Company where, among other operational functions, she was responsible for retail management training and class administration, market-specific development of training manuals and business and operational excellence tracking tools, and in charge of district recruitment and hiring. She also held the position of Starbucks Project Director for the 2004 Olympic Games and saw to fruition the implementation of a company-wide Crisis Response Plan for the Greek market. Sylva M. Caracatsanis is currently affiliated with the American Hellenic University in Athens, Greece, where she is a Research Associate working on local, regional, and global research studies in the International Business area. Sylva M. Caracatsanis is the corresponding author and can be contacted at:
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