Influence of Customer Capital on Growth of Women-Owned Micro and Small Enterprises in Central Kenya Counties
Customer capital is an important entrepreneurial intangible resource that is crucial in driving growth of women-owned enterprises. Women-owned enterprises in Kenya face a number of challenges. They are less likely to grow, are smaller, and are twice as likely to be operating from home compared to male-owned ones. They also lack the necessary entrepreneurial intangible resources critical for success. Due to these challenges, the Government of Kenya established the Uwezo Fund in 2014, for youth women empowerment in entrepreneurship. Women-owned micro and small enterprises supported by Uwezo fund have shown phenomenon growth in Central Kenya counties. However, the casualty level is still high like in rest of the country. Counties like Kiambaa, Tetu and Gatundu North have been performing dismally with some of the least growth in women enterprises. Despite the increasingly importance of customer capital in supporting growth of women enterprises, few studies have given a considerable attention to this area. The specific objective was to assess the influence of customer capital on growth of women-owned MSEs in Central Kenya counties. The target population was 1228 women entrepreneurs registered and recipients of Uwezo Fund. Sample size was 399 respondents. Data was collected through questionnaires. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used in data analysis. Findings showed that customer capital had the most significant positive contribution to the growth of women enterprises. For the women entrepreneurs, customers were the most important aspect of their enterprises. Based on the findings, the study concluded that customer capital through customer loyalty; knowledge and marketing capabilities had the most significant influence on growth of women-owned MSEs. Customers were important attributes to the growth of women enterprises and the women entrepreneurs therefore need to invest more in harnessing the loyalty of the customers in terms of availing new markets and products. Recommendations were that women entrepreneurs should invest on self-knowledge in order to sustain the customers and even attract new ones to their enterprises.
Keywords: Customer Capital, Growth of Women-Owned Micro and Small Enterprises.
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