Document Type

Working Paper

Date of this Version



Robert Jensen


This paper explores the challenges facing women micro-entrepreneurs in Lagos, Nigeria by way of a case study of Peace Akpotu, a salon-owner operating in Ajegunle. Research entailed the use of participant observation and ethnography to uncover several difficulties faced by women entrepreneurs, including the burdens of relocation, domestic duties, and childbirth upon marriage. Additional obstacles, such as a less economically resourced customer base, poor mechanisms to determine customer preferences, and steep competition compound with limited access to business education for women entrepreneurs and a volatile market, further complicating business operations. Moreover, a reframing of what constitutes a successful business allows for the value of positive externalities irrespective of profit from women-owned business to be considered, including mentorship, the creation of a safe social space for women, and women’s empowerment. Opportunities to enhance these positive externalities and mitigate challenges are explored.


women, micro-enterprise, Nigeria, Lagos, ethnography

Included in

Business Commons



Date Posted: 25 July 2016


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