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Start-up motives and challenges facing female entrepreneurs in Tanzania

Nsubili Isaga (School of Business, Mzumbe University, Mzumbe, Tanzania)

International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship

ISSN: 1756-6266

Article publication date: 30 October 2018

Issue publication date: 4 June 2019




Research on women-owned business is more extensive in developed countries than in developing countries and such one cannot compare the results. This paper aims to examine the motives of women in Tanzania (a less developed country) to start their own businesses and the challenges they faced in running their businesses.


Based on 400 response to a semi-structured questionnaire and in-depth interview with 20 female entrepreneurs. Subsequently, descriptive and factors analysis were performed to analyze the data


Based on survey responses, the primary reason for starting a business was to create employment for the woman herself. Other motives include supplementing income and enabling women to be able to do the kind of work they wanted to do. According to the factor analysis, female entrepreneurs are driven more by push factors than pull factors. The most serious problems faced by female entrepreneurs are lack of access to finance, gender-related problems and social and cultural commitments.

Research limitations/implications

The sample was selected from urban areas of only three regions, out of 26 regions in Tanzania. Researchers may extend the study to other regions; also, the non-probability sampling method used in this study essentially means that there is a limitation to the extent to which the research findings can be generalized to the rest of the population of female entrepreneurs in Tanzania.

Practical implications

Policy makers, financial institutions and all organization that have a stake on development on female entrepreneurs in Tanzania should design policies and programs that encourage and promote the creation and growth of businesses. Collective efforts from the government, public and private institutions and NGOs are needed to eliminate the challenges, especially gender-related problems.

Practical implications

By studying female owner-managers’ motivations and constraints, the author suggests that to a greater extent, gender-related problems, social and cultural commitments and access to finance and networks are the constraints faced by female entrepreneurs.


The research on female entrepreneurs in the context of Tanzania is scarce, this study responds to a need of better understanding women motivations and constraints. By studying these factors, this study shows that startup motives and constraints faced by female entrepreneurs are unique to different contexts.



Isaga, N. (2019), "Start-up motives and challenges facing female entrepreneurs in Tanzania", International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship, Vol. 11 No. 2, pp. 102-119.



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