Innovation and the Success of Women's Small Scale Enterprises in Ghana
Innovation is fast becoming a crucial factor in enterprise performance, growth and survival. In recent years, a growing number of studies have demonstrated how innovation leads to success in larger enterprises. Literature addressing innovation in small enterprises in developing countries is limited; most studies in this field are from developed countries. This study therefore aimed at filling the gap by firstly, exploring the innovations introduced in the Ghanaian women-owned small enterprises, and secondly finding out the relationship between these innovations and the women's business success. The innovative practices explored were the introduction of new products and processes, identification of new sources of raw materials and new markets. Quantitative and qualitative approaches are combined in data collection and analysis. Data has been obtained from a survey of 421 Ghanaian women entrepreneurs and interviews conducted with 50 of those women. The results in the study indicated that the small enterprises engaged in various types of innovative practices such as the adoption of fuel efficient processing methods, diversification of product line, improved packaging and opening of new market outlets. These innovative practices have contributed to the success of the enterprises. Their success factors include self-fulfillment, wealth creation and positive impact on the Ghanaian economy. These findings have policy implications for improved technology and funds allocation to enhance women's role in economic development.
Keywords: Innovation; Business growth; Women-owned small enterprises; Schumpeter's entrepreneurship perspective.