5 misconceptions about women entrepreneurs in Kenya

As effort is put into studying women entrepreneurship, we get to learn more about the experiences of women in business. But as more information waits to be unearthed, some myths about female entrepreneurs will continue to linger.

Here are five misconceptions about women entrepreneurs in Kenya that we hope will go away soon enough:

1.Their businesses are purely hobbies
For some, their experience with women entrepreneurship in Kenya is housewives running subsidized businesses to keep them busy. To think this, presumes women are not aggressive or ambitious enough to get into business. Anyone who has witnessed Kenyans scrambling to board a matatu will tell you that women are pretty aggressive. Small scale agriculture and small businesses are dominated by women and it’s they that have contributed to expansion of microfinance’s reach through avenues like Mshwari.

2.They are limited to ‘feminine’ industries
The main reason there is a small presence of women in traditionally male-dominated fields is because, historically, few women enrolled in STEM courses or in technical institutions. Today, women are involved in as diverse sectors as men. The only difference being the numbers. Heck, the most prominent female entrepreneur in Kenya is involved in brewery.

3.They need a male partner or patron
Women entrepreneurs face discrimination when trying to access capital or soliciting collaborations. If women ever needed male support of this kind, it’s only because they lacked similar support systems. No entrepreneur can be successful without a support system in place. This ranges from networks, funding and mentorship. Just check out the women entrepreneurs we have interviewed as proof of this.

4.Young women don’t start businesses
You have evidence of this because you spend too much time on Instagram. Here’s a page to make scrolling through IG productive . The Female Entrepreneurship Index reveals that it’s a global phenomenon for women to start businesses at older ages. Women have commitments to family and this naturally takes attention away from entrepreneurship.

5.Successful women used shortcuts
To borrow from Forbes Magazine, “you can be cute and smart.” Some people do not like to believe that lipsticks, polished nails and knee-length skirts are only sidekicks to brain power. Work ethic and sheer brilliance are actually big factors in realizing success. If women were eally cheating the system we wouldn’t be complain about absence of women at the top of the hierarchy in most sectors.