Nigeria: Women outnumber men in business Startups

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Nigeria: Women outnumber men in business Startups Andrey Popov /

Globally it has been recognized that entrepreneurial development is one of the most effective tools for ending poverty and achieving sustainable development in any economy. Women have been described as an integral part of this development. Women-owned businesses are steadily growing across the world, contributing to household incomes and national economic growth.

Women entrepreneurs have contributed in no small way to the growth and development of the Nigerian economy. Today, their businesses are evolving in the different sectors including agriculture, textile, information technology, among others.

In Nigeria, empowering women economically is seen as a key objective to improving the economy. That is why economic experts across the nation are seeking more empowerment for women entrepreneurs to enhance rapid economic development.

The latest Global Entrepreneurship Monitor annual survey shows that women are well-represented when it comes to starting a business in Nigeria. According to the survey, 41 percent of early-stage businesses are run by female as oppose to 39 percent of males.

GEM’s research indicates that these women are very creative and innovative and that they are more eager to establish new businesses than their male folks. Also, the high success rate of these businesses shows that women are more focused and resourceful than their male counterparts.

GEM states in its survey that “growth expectations and aspirations of early-stage entrepreneurs represent a key dimension of potential entrepreneurial impact and may be linked directly to many first-priority policy objectives around the world: to create more jobs. This is an important policy concern for nearly every government, particularly in the aftermath of the global financial crisis and the accompanying upswing in unemployment rates."

GEM's Executive director Mike Herrington noted the main reason why women are creating new businesses in Nigeria is because “they need to earn an extra income" to be able to afford to send their children to school”.

Data from the National Bureau of Statistics indicate that as of 2013, Nigeria’s population was at 174 million; out of which women constitute more than 50 percent of the population. According to economic experts, about 30 percent of the registered entrepreneurial businesses in Nigeria are owned by women.

Despite their significant contribution to the nation’s economy, recognition of the potentials of Nigeria women still remains unacknowledged.

The average growth rate of women’s enterprises is still lower than the average growth rate for businesses run by men. Business analysts, however, have identified that quite a number of factors are contributing to the slow growth rate in Nigeria. These factors include limited access to financing, gender discrimination,  and lack of career advancement and training facilities.

In Nigeria, the major factor that constrains women from starting a business is gender discrimination. When it comes to access to resources for establishing and expansion of a business, women mostly encounter challenges in getting credit and loans.

There is an urgent need to develop entrepreneurship spirit amongst Nigerian women by providing insights into the tools, techniques and framework for functional areas of business enterprise, including production, marketing, personnel, and financial management.

The future of a nation’s economy is in its women active involvement in entrepreneurship activities; therefore, it has become expedient that the Nigerian government embraces women entrepreneurship and provides them with the necessary assistance as well as support to run their businesses in order to accelerate the pace of economic growth and development.

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