Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia (2008) defines an entrepreneur as one who assumes the responsibility and the risk for a business operation with the expectation of making a profit. The entrepreneur generally decides on the product, acquires the facilities, and brings together the labour force, capital, and production materials. If the business succeeds, the entrepreneur reaps the reward of profits; if it fails, he or she takes the loss.
In the recent decades, the concept of entrepreneurship has attracted many researchers from diverse background. Hence, there is no specific definition that is generally accepted across board. Drucker (1990) in his book innovation and entrepreneurship defines an entrepreneur as "one who always searches for change, responds to it and exploits it as an opportunity. Innovation is the basic tool of entrepreneurs, the means by which they exploit change as an opportunity for a different business or services." An entrepreneur is a key figure in economic progress as he is the person who introduces new things in the economy. In every society, he is regarded as the business leader and not as simple owner of capital. He is a person with telescopic faculty, drive and talent who perceives business opportunities and promptly seizes them for exploitation.
According to Schumpeter (2005), "entrepreneurship is a creative activity and an entrepreneur is essentially an innovator. Innovation manifests itself in problem solving activities wherein entrepreneur acts as a problem solver. He is the person who converts the problems into opportunities. His role is to do the things in a novel and better way.
He goes beyond the traditional ways of thinking and starts the activity in an innovative way. It is a fact that a businessman who behaves in traditional ways hardly becomes an entrepreneur." Thus, in Schumpeter's opinion, the dream and the will to establish a private kingdom, will to conquer and finally the joy of creating, getting things done or simply exercising one's energy and ingenuity are the motives that inspire the innovative entrepreneur to undertake innovation.
According to Jean Baptiste (2006), "An entrepreneur is the agent who unites all the factors of production and who finds in value of the products the re-establishment of the entire capital he employs, and the value of wages, the interest and the rent which he pays as well as the profits belonging to himself. He may or may not supply capital but he must have judgment, perseverance and the knowledge of the world of business."
The process of entrepreneurship may involve the creation of new ventures, but it does not necessarily require this to take place (Shane, Locke & Collins, 2003). Entrepreneurship can take place inside large firms in which managers undertake entrepreneurial behaviours to drive change or achieve their vision of creating new products or processes (Pinchot, 1987).
Entrepreneurship represents planned, intentional behaviour (Bird, 1988; Krueger & Brazeal, 1994), and based on the fact that intention is said to precede action (Ajzen, 1991), it would be amenable to use entrepreneurial intention as the criterion variable in this study. Furthermore, entrepreneurial intention is said to be a reliable predictor or measure of entrepreneurial behaviour and entrepreneurial activity (Krueger, 2000). Generally, entrepreneurial intentions are a state of mind which directs and guides the actions of the individual towards the development and implementation of new business concepts (Bird, 1988). It can be viewed as the intention of a person to perform new venture creation behaviour or action (Grundsten, 2004). In other words, it is the inclination of an individual to start-up a business venture of his or her own or to be in partnership with an organization as owners of the business. The bottom-line of the above elucidation is the intention of an individual to start-up a business whose financial implication and calculated risks falls on the individual.
The entrepreneur has been studied in terms of their personality characteristics and the environmental forces that shape their behaviour and decide whether they will or won't engage in entrepreneurial activity (Bird, 1988, Al-Harrasi, Al-Zadjali, Al-Salti, 2014). Shane, Locke & Collins (2003) identified some of these as the need for achievement, the propensity for taking calculated risks, the tolerance for ambiguity, locus of control, self-efficacy, goal setting, independence, drive and ego passion. These qualities have been identified in different combinations as those that characterise the typical entrepreneur (Osborne, 1995, Al-Harrasi, Al-Zadjali, Al-Salti, 2014).
Other characteristics include a person's gender (Buttner & Rosen, 1989; Kolvereid et. al., 1993, Urban, 2011), education level (Storey, 1982, Kamau, 2010), family background (Scott & Twomey, 1988; Matthew & Moser, 1995, Shittu & Dosumu, 2014), and ethnicity (Aldrich & Waldinger, 1990, Urban & Ratsimanetrimanana. 2015). These drivers of entrepreneurship have been researched in some depth with several being identified as being of particular importance.
The importance of entrepreneurship for economic development has been widely acknowledged in recent years. Entrepreneurship is assumed to be a major source of innovation, job creation and growth (Audretsch and Thurik, 2001; Carree, Van Stel, Thurik and Wennekers, 2001; Audretsch, Carree, Van Stel and Thurik, 2002, Parker, 2004). "The experiences of developed economies in relation to the roles played by entrepreneurship buttresses the fact that the importance of entrepreneurship cannot be overemphasized especially among the developing countries" (Anyadike, Emeh and Ukah, 2012). According to (Adejumo 2001, Parker, 2004), "entrepreneurial activities have been found to be capable of making positive impacts on the economy of a nation and the quality of life of the people".
In both developed and developing countries, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) play important roles in the process of industrialization and economic growth (Adekunle & Tella, 2008). According to Aina (2007), "SMEs contribute significantly to the economic development of Nigeria. These contributions are remarkable as about 10% of the total manufacturing output and 70% of the industrial employment are by SMEs." Also, Ihua (2009), states that about 97% of the entire enterprises in Nigeria are SMEs and they employ an average of 50% of the working population as well as contributing up to 50% to the country's industrial output.
Generally, business entrepreneurs are considered as very important agents of economic growth and societal renewal (Cantzler & Leijon, 2007). In spite of the enormous contribution of women entrepreneurs, there is a wide gap or difference in terms of entrepreneurship participation between men and women. The women are believed to have lower propensity for entrepreneurship compared to men (Koelllinger, 2008; Lyons & Kirkwood, 2009). Some studies revealed that they are generally less growth oriented than men (Coleman, 2007).
The research on female entrepreneurship in western countries is extensive as female entrepreneurs were more similar than different to those of male entrepreneurs (Carter, 2001, Vossenberg, 2013). However, female entrepreneurs differ from their male counterparts in that they are less likely to have prior business experience or training, they choose entrepreneurship as a result of experiencing glass ceiling in large organizations, and have difficulties in acquiring resources such as financial, human, and social capital (Carter, Anderson & Shaw 2001, Coleman 2002). In addition, female owned businesses are relatively younger, tend to operate mainly in retailing and services industries, and perform less well than companies owned by men (Carter, 2001, Vossenberg, 2013).
Differences exists in the levels of new firm creation across genders, with international studies indicating that the number of women involved in starting a business is significantly and systematically...