Challenges to women entrepreneurship in Kigali, Rwanda
Given good conditions, women can run businesses, support their families and the community, and contribute to economic growth. The lack of women’s involvement in entrepreneurship is a huge loss to the nation and society. Women make up 51.83% of the population in Rwanda, but are underrepresented in business – largely due to social customs, religion, and cultural beliefs. Society perceives women as too weak to conduct business, and prefers them to be confined to housekeeping activities and dependency on men. Interestingly, literature indicates that involving women in entrepreneurial activities help. Despite this, women in Rwanda have broken the barrier and started up business. However, they face many challenges; their businesses remain small scale compared to their counterparts. The aim of this study is to determine the challenges experienced by women entrepreneurs in Kigali. This research is significant because it attempts to identify the challenges to entrepreneurship in Kigali, by allowing the voices of women entrepreneurs to be heard. The study uses a quantitative descriptive approach. The target population was women in formal and informal business in the districts of Gasabo, Kicukiro, and Nyarugenge in the city of Kigali. A self-administered structured questionnaire was used to obtain data from 398 women entrepreneurs after obtaining their informed written consent. The data was analysed using recent Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 24. Findings were interpreted and discussed in a numerical narrative featuring frequency, percent, valid percent, cumulative percent, mean, and standard deviation. The results show that women entrepreneurs in Kigali experience more challenges, among others including: High shop rentals, lack of start-up capital, lack of collateral to obtain a loan, high taxes, high interest rate and high transport, and a lack of information technology skills. This study has uncovered that women entrepreneurs face a lot of challenges while running their business in Kigali. Fortunately, the solution is within reach. For instance, women entrepreneurs themselves, family, society, government, stakeholder, and researchers should work together to eradicate these challenges. Women entrepreneurs should work together in cooperatives to minimise shop rentals, possible access to capital and so forth. In addition, they can leverage their experience and know-how.
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