Motivational factors affecting informal women entrepreneurs in North-West Province

Sanchen Henning, Kabira Akoob


Background: Informal women entrepreneurs in the rural villages of North-West strive to progress from poverty to prosperity. There is a growing appreciation that the conditions that support women’s ability to start and grow ventures may be different from those that help men and therefore there is a need to examine the motivational factors affecting women’s enterprise development.

Aim: The study aimed to identify the motivational factors of women in the Mahikeng area to start informal enterprises, the barriers they experience and their developmental business needs.

Setting: The study focussed on informal women entrepreneurs in the rural villages of Mahikeng in the North-West province.

Methods: In total, 80 face-to-face questionnaires were completed with women entrepreneurs. A principal component analysis of 15 items of the total questionnaire was performed on the data to determine which items could be reduced and transformed into new components.

Results: ‘Destitute conditions’, ‘Entrepreneurial Spirit’ and ‘Passion for Product’ emerged as the three underlying motivational factors. The component ‘Destitute conditions’ was ranked as the most important reason for starting an informal business. The need to transcend impoverished conditions (a push factor) and the need for self-determination (a pull factor) were almost equally strong amongst the 80 participants. ‘Lack of financial and business skills’ was ranked as the biggest obstacle to keeping the business running. Ninety-one per cent of the women entrepreneurs reported that they had never received any training from the government or the private sector.

Conclusions: Access to basic infrastructure, training, funding and business networks will enable self-efficacy behaviour of women entrepreneurs in the Mahikeng district to move beyond poverty. Recommendations included the establishment of a regional database of informal women entrepreneurs, the improvement of basic facilities and infrastructure and access to microloans as well as training by the formal sector.


Motivational factors; informal business; women entrepreneur; self-efficacy

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Submitted: 15 June 2016
Published: 30 August 2017

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The Southern African Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management    |    ISSN: 2522-7343 (PRINT)    |    ISSN: 2071-3185 (ONLINE)