Date of Conferral
Public Policy and Administration
In Kenya, a 2013 presidential directive reserved 30% of government procurement opportunities for enterprises owned by women, youth, and persons with disabilities to promote economic empowerment; however, as of 2016, female entrepreneurs continued to be outpaced by their male counterparts. The lack of policy evaluation from the female entrepreneur perspective limits the ability to assess progress and identify obstacles. Through purposeful sampling and semistructured interviews, this qualitative phenomenological study obtained the perceptions of the implementation and impact of Access to Government Procurement Opportunities (AGPO) on economic empowerment from the perspective of 20 female entrepreneurs in Kenya previously awarded procurement contracts. Responses were coded and analyzed thematically using Moustakas's modified van Kaam method in the context of the policy feedback theory and empowerment. Five themes emerged from the female entrepreneurs' experiences: (a) enhanced economic empowerment; (b)improved potential to earn new government contracts motivated enrollment in the AGPO; (c) access to business development services enhanced competitiveness to obtain government tenders; (d) negative financial impact due to government-delayed payments for goods and services; and (e) success impeded by procurement officers' incompetence, corruption and harassment. Social change may be promoted through the economic empowerment of women being maximized with stronger implementation and regulation of this affirmative policy primarily through a streamlined application process, prompt payments for services rendered, flexible funding, and regulated competent and ethical procurement practices.