Market system strategies: Antecedents to financial uptake among women-owned MSMEs in informal settlements in Kenya
Keywords:Market System Strategies, women-owned MSMEs, Financial Uptake, Kenya
Despite the effort to increase financial inclusion, women-owned Micro, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) continue to face challenges in the uptake of financial services. Low financial uptake is strongly associated with business failure leading to low income and living standards among women entrepreneurs in marginalized areas. Market system strategies are crucial in determining businesses' level of financial uptake. The study investigated the effect of market system strategies on the financial uptake of women-owned MSMEs in the informal settlement of Nyeri County. Specifically, it investigated the effect of business readiness, financial literacy, investor relationships, and investment impact on financial uptake among women-owned MSMEs. The study variables were anchored on Ricky Griffin's model, Theory of Change, and Refinancing theory. The study used a descriptive research design, specifically a cross-sectional design. The target population was 890 women-owned MSMEs in the informal settlements of Nyeri county. Proportionate stratified and random sampling were used to obtain a sample of 275 businesses representing approximately 30% of the study population. Data was collected using structured questionnaires. A pilot test was conducted using ten individuals to test and improve the study questionnaire Reliability was tested using Cronbach's alpha, where an alpha of 0.7 was the acceptable threshold. Regression analyses indicated that the market system strategies, business readiness, financial literacy, impact investment, and investor relationship positively and significantly affected financial uptake, with p-values lower than 0.05 alpha. The study found that businesses with better market system strategies have a higher financial uptake. Based on the findings of this study, it is recommended that policies and interventions aimed at improving financial uptake among women-owned MSMEs should focus on enhancing business readiness and financial literacy and building strong impact investment and investor relationships. The county government, NGOs, and others interested stakeholders should encourage women entrepreneurs in informal settlements of Nyeri county to seek training and support to develop their business skills and increase their understanding of financial uptake. Furthermore, the county and national governments should connect women-owned MSMEs with impact investors and establish relationships to provide funding, support, and mentorship. Finally, policymakers and stakeholders in the financial sector should consider creating an enabling environment that supports and incentivizes impact investment in MSMEs, especially those owned by women, to increase their financial uptake.
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