Accepted paper:

Innovation and the performance of informal SMEs in Africa: a gender perspective

Authors:

Elvis Avenyo (University of Johannesburg)
Erika Kraemer-Mbula (University of Johannesburg)

Paper short abstract:

Women-owned SMEs are important innovators (Kimosop et al., 2016). As the intermediation between SMEs and innovation becomes the epicentre of Africa's prospects, female-owned enterprises become crucial. This paper analyses the innovation activities of female-owned informal enterprises on employment.

Paper long abstract:

Women-owned SMEs are important innovators (Kimosop et al., 2016). As the intermediation between SMEs and innovation becomes the epicentre of Africa's economic prospects, the economic significance of female-owned enterprises becomes crucial. This paper explores and analyses the innovation activities of female-owned informal enterprises, and how these innovations enhance employment in non-farm informal enterprises. The paper aims to question and challenge what innovation is, who innovates, and where we can find innovations. In addition, the paper aims to highlight and provoke gender-awareness in innovation policy, in order to promote gender equality and inclusive development. For the empirical investigation, we employed the Dose Response Model (Cerulli, 2015) using enterprise-level data on 513 informal enterprises surveyed in urban Ghana (Accra and Tema). The enterprise-level data, using open and closed-ended questionnaire, collected information on key enterprises' performance and innovation variables of interest, including employment, learning processes (interaction and apprenticeship), innovation and sales for the last and three fiscal years ago, among others. The data was gathered between May-June 2016, covering the last fiscal year (2015) and three fiscal years ago (2013). In each informal enterprise, we interviewed owners or assigned caretakers responsible for the day-to-day running of the business.

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Stream:
Inclusive development?
Inclusive innovation for development: what inclusion for a fairer future? [paper]