Academic journal article Academy of Entrepreneurship Journal

An Assessment of the Extent of Women Participation in Small and Medium Enterprises Management in Urban Zimbabwe: A Focus on Harare (2012-2017)

Academic journal article Academy of Entrepreneurship Journal

An Assessment of the Extent of Women Participation in Small and Medium Enterprises Management in Urban Zimbabwe: A Focus on Harare (2012-2017)

Article excerpt


Arguably, women in small and medium enterprises characterise much uncharted employment creation sources in developing economies and developed countries alike. However, challenges obtain that militate against entrepreneurship among women. These challenges manifest mainly through lack of policy formulation that favour women, insufficient training and inadequate credit facilities coupled with national legal constraints. The disparity obtaining between men and women in this regard has been recorded by the World Economic Forum (WEF 2017). Not much headway has been noted in bridging the economic gap concerning men and women, although not all hope is lost. Innovative initiatives are available to stimulate entrepreneurship for women as propelled by both the public and private sectors with marked increase. Today, women-owned enterprises now play a pivotal role economically worldwide.

Their number continues to grow, representing a substantial part of employment creation and potential for commercial growth. According to the MasterCard (2013), women stand as more inclined to better management of budgets and also at decision-making financially that has a bearing on families. GPFI (2011) estimated that in developing economies, Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) owned by women signify 31 to 38 %.

The OECD (2012) reported that, there is a significant increase of female-owned businesses developing and outpacing their male colleagues. It also reported that there is little evidence if any indicating that women entities could be failing more rapidly. However, Hisrich and Bruch (1986) contend that, the attendant risks and challenges affecting women entrepreneurs outweigh those for male entrepreneurs hence narrowing immensely their success rate if not managed properly. In view of the myriad challenges bedevilling women entrepreneurship predominantly in Zimbabwe which include; inadequate capital, poor infrastructures and levels of participation, this study sought to gauge the level of participation by women in SMEs management in Zimbabwe, focusing on Harare.


Internationally, analogous data obtained from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries on women entrepreneurship reveal that the emergence of women-owned initiatives are greater compared to those owned by men (OECD, 2012). The observation by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM, 2007) is that, the proportion of a chance to the requisite entrepreneurship is characteristically greater for economies with higher incomes than in economies with low-/middle-income groups, impacting considerably on female entrepreneurs. It implies that, in poor countries it is necessity which is more likely to drive women's entrepreneurship, as in the case of Zimbabwe. However, Hewlett and Rashid (2011) argue that, regardless of this observation it is less in higher income economies than in low to middle income countries where gender and entrepreneurial activity is naturally higher.

They further argue that, women progressively outstrip men in colleges in growing economies such as the BRIC countries namely Brazil, Russia, India and China. This represents an upward trajectory for both business and development in terms of talent and opportunities. In cases where the role for women employment in the public sector is shrinking and in cases where private sector opportunities are less vigorously tracked as is the case with Zimbabwe, a window of opportunity for women to start and develop businesses for themselves prevails. Viewed in the lens of a public sector standpoint, it is quite costly and ineffective for a country to have an educated workforce that is unutilised. For Hewlett and Rashid (2011), in Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Brazil, for instance, an untapped source of entrepreneurial talent is disproportionately in women.

Josiane (1998) argues that, the engine that propels economic development is entrepreneurship, as a result, it has been documented for its creation of jobs, wealth and revenue. …

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