This study examines the impact of microfinance on economic, financial and social empowerment of women micro entrepreneurs in Ikeja, Lagos State. A sample of 50 women micro entrepreneurs were selected in Ikeja some of which include traders, hairdressers, fashion designers, fish farmers and boutique owners. Survey method was employed to obtain a picture of the population. Research data was collected using a 24 item questionnaire in order to measure the empowerment of women micro entrepreneurs and access to capital from microfinance banks. Reliability and validity of the instrument was tested to ensure the instrument has face and content validity. Data collected were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics. Research questions were tested using frequency counts and percentages while the hypotheses were tested using correlation coefficient, analysis of variance and regression analysis. The result of my analysis showed that; there are more women micro entrepreneurs between the ages of 18-45, 68% of the respondents were married, half of the population engaged in trading, 24% were hairdressers and fashion designers constituted 8%. The finding shows that women micro entrepreneurs can be economically empowered and there is an existing appreciable level of economic empowerment; 14% of respondents have purchased lands, 4% were able to build houses, 68% are sponsoring their children’s education. It was proved that loan facilities, trainings and monitoring through microfinance can improve women’s business capacity in various ways like buying more goods, buying in bulks, increasing stocks and buying more work tools. There is a positive relationship between the access to capital through Microfinance and the empowerment of women micro entrepreneurs, there is a significant difference in access to capital based on business types. Age and marital status of women combined gave 4% variation in economic empowerment of respondents. Based on these findings we recommend that Women Micro entrepreneurs should embrace the services of microfinance and seek information about the product/service that will help in empowering them and should use the resources appropriately. Microfinance banks should ensure they increase their efforts/strategies to reach all women micro entrepreneurs, develop packages suitable for each type of business and personality. More adequate follow up and training/monitoring should be provided for women micro entrepreneurs and microfinance should create a warm and welcoming environment in their offices to win the women and also use friendly approaches.
Basically, non-parametric statistical tests and analysis were called out. For clarity purpose results of data analysis were presented using statistical table percentages, charts and chi-square. Of the 100 questionnaire administered, 82 were retrieved duly completed. These were analyzed to elicit answers to the research questions. The questionnaires retrieved represented 71.6% retrieval rate.
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