Challenges Faced by Women Entrepreneurs in Small and Medium Enterprises in Swaziland
Keywords:Women entrepreneurs, business challenges, opportunities, economic development, Government, stakeholders
Although contemporary economies take women entrepreneurship seriously, the uptake of entrepreneurship activities by women remains low in Swaziland; the involvement of women-run businesses in economic development is minimal. Using a quantitative research methodology which involved the filling in of objective questionnaires by female entrepreneurs, the study sought to establish the challenges faced by women entrepreneurs in Swaziland, identify contributing factors to these challenges and consider the roles played by different stakeholders in promoting women entrepreneurship. The study revealed that most women who are actively engaged in business are aged between 30 to 49. Because of the power of education, these women believe that they are capable of running successful businesses. However, some women feel that they are weak and marginalized. All the study participants have less than 10 years of experience in business. There is inadequate Government support and most of the women lack knowledge about where they could get support. Despite having legislation that supports women’s participation in economic development and the business interests of women, women remain underrepresented in national economic activities. Significant challenges faced by women in business in Swaziland are related to cultural factors, funding and lack of information. More research based strategies are required to create awareness of the business opportunities available for women entrepreneurs in Swaziland. The study concluded that women entrepreneurism is fairly new in Swaziland hence there is need for further research on the women entrepreneurism and how it benefits different stakeholders. Gender justice based socio-cultural reorientation in Swaziland could give more women the opportunity to explore their potential in business without fear of victimization and marginalization.
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