The entrepreneurial competencies of women in Western Region

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Present economic and political thinking favours private sector initiatives as a solution to today’s deteriorating economic and unemployment problem. Therefore, there is a worldwide concern to mobilize individual initiative and stimulate the use of entrepreneurial talents for economic development. The Ghanaian government’s educational reforms as well as policies of some non-governmental organizations emphasize the training of women to acquire and build on their talents. The results from such training are usually expensive and only a few people benefit from such training. The changing female role from one who is part breadwinner calls for the developing and building of their skills. A woman usually starts an enterprise to support her family with frequently lower educational background and lack of access to capital. This compels them to enter into traditional economic activities such as petty trading services (restaurant, hairdressing) small processing and production. Traditional women’s skills are already crowded in the sense that many women having had basic education or most often none at all are attached to apprenticeship in hair dressing or dressmaking. The market for their products is already chocked. After their apprenticeship they do not have the patronage they expect and when such a situation arises they become frustrated and turn to the commonest of all trades - petty trading. Stalls are erected in front of their houses or along streets and most often they go hawking to catch a greater share of the market of their wares. The domestic life and the business life of the women is usually intertwined. To improve the business life of the woman, there is the need to understand her circumstances and its effects on the enterprise. This will help identify factors or characteristics which are inherent in individuals as well as external factors such as the dual role of keeping the business going and satisfying their domestic demands and adopt strategies to strengthen positive forces and minimize or remove negative ones. To be able to come out with any meaningful strategy or solution, there is the need to access entrepreneurial qualities that Ghanaian women possess. It is from this point that one can think of improving her business skills, access to credit, technical solutions as well as family problems. Even though there has been significant growth of female self-employment, much of what is known about their characteristics, their motivations, family background, occupational experiences and problems are based on studies of male entrepreneurs.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the award of Postgraduate Diploma in Industrial Management, 1996