International Journal of Entrepreneurship (Print ISSN: 1099-9264; Online ISSN: 1939-4675)

Research Article: 2021 Vol: 25 Issue: 1

Understanding the Gender Preference on the Motivation of Informal Entrepreneurs: The Southwest, Nigeria Scenario

Ayeni Adebanji, Landmark University

Ogunnaike Olaleke, Landmark University

Sajuyigbe Ademola, Landmark University

Ayeni Edidiong Blessing, Landmark University

Adeyeye Modupe, Landmark University


Gender Preference, Informal Entrepreneurship, Electronics Market


The gain of entrepreneurial practice has been the alleviation of poverty along with the reduction of unemployment in every economy. Various studies have embarked on the practice of entrepreneurship intent amidst other needs but the scarcity in the line of motivation has been a dredge in the entrepreneurial literature. To this end, this study responds to the need to venture into more data on the gender preference on the informal entrepreneur participation using the electronics market in a developing nation for the study. The study employed the use of the gatekeeper to employ the quantitative technique, using T-test analysis to riddle the involved patterns of discussion in the selected electronics market, southwest Nigeria. The two-sample showed that 435 male participants were found to be socially motivated (M=3.8587 SD=0.63775) compared to the 109 female participants in the selected informal market (3.3965, SD=0.76449). From the study result, it was also posited that the involvement of informal entrepreneurship in the electronics market was not a gender-based effect but a social drive as needed which needed to be infused for sustainable development in the nation. The study clearly shows that there are lapses on gender-based comparison in the informal entrepreneurship and thus a need to fill the gap.


The entrance of entrepreneurship is to support the economic system of every nation and to this end, (Abdul, 2018) made it known that entrepreneurship is a practice that must be abided and conjugated by every society. A developing nation such as Nigeria has and still experience difficulty in the practice of entrepreneurship as it exists in large deficiency of supporting infrastructure as against developed nations (Damayanthi, 2017). Thus, stressing the need for the contribution of the missing analogy, caused by the influx of continuous unbalance socio-economic infrastructure required for supporting entrepreneurship. This is otherwise known as informal entrepreneurship. According to (Anbarci et al., 2012), it is a necessitated experience that supports the unemployment sector. This insinuation can be related to the International Labour Office (2012) on the rate of informal entrepreneurship practices in developing nations. Standing on this premise, Philips Consulting (2014) provided the capacity intent of the informal market, thus serving as a shock to the unemployment premises that should have dissrupted the economy of Nigeria.

To this end, limited studies have been made as regards the motivation into the informal entrepreneurship practice, which has embedded the informal business practice as it is welcomed in the informal market. Furthermore is the belief that the informal entrepreneurship is a crib of safety for the perceived hard male gender, thus creating a restriction and where the informal business exists, is a reflection of agricultural/trading practice (ogunrinola, 1991).

Literature Review

Rudolph & Kleiner (1989) describes motivation as "an internal state which leads a person to act in a way which ensures that he or she has specific goals." Arousal people who cause or compel and maintain behavior, energy sources, desires, expectations, drives and needs are examples of excitement. Motivation is described as "human psychological features that contribute to a person's degree of commitment" in (Stoner, Freeman & Gilbert, 2002). Informal companies are generally understandable as they focus on economic or social durability and are thus the motor of the movement.

Quintin’s (2008) position on the degree to which the informal sector can decrease in response to financing contracts which can restrict those operating in the informal sector (with tax evasion as characteristics) by restricting their means to contract enforcement among other benefits that entrepreneurs practising in the formal sector gain from. With these gains that the formal entrepreneurs derive from the system, it is pertinent to note that they also face the payment of taxes which are on the high side and which discourages entry into the formal economy. With the attributable gains, the formal entrepreneurs derive from the system. Thus resulting in the expected value from the appropriated activities informal entrepreneurs engage in (Gentry & Hubbard, 2005).

Of note, the term motivation transcends all genders and this flows also in the application. It was in this paradigm that brings about (Osoko et al., 2019) displayed of Maslow hierarchy of needs not reflecting any gender premise but (Moses, 2011) was of the different opinion on this. The author provided the belief system that one gender is under privilege from the other, especially in the largest employer of labour after the recognizable government, the informal market. The generalization of this brought forth the need to understudy the peculiarity for relevant consideration, the electronics market.

Anetor (2015) stresses the opinion that the influence of social motivation which maintains the informal business operation was created to preserve the interpersonal relationships with the entrepreneur colleagues. Thus, the entrepreneur’s involvement in the informal market enables the establishment, maintenance, and restoration of positive affective relations with others. According to (Douglas & Prentice, 2019), social motivation births cordial relation with other informal entrepreneurs which encourages the entrepreneurs’ willingness to operate informally.

With the provision of the jobs with the aid of the informal entrepreneurship, the focus has been on the relevance, sustainability, women participation, causal effect and possibility of discouragement of the participation into the sector as the data for governmental purposes are being kept in animosity, thus the expected earnings are never gotten. Studies into the reason for the involvement have hardly being looked into, though the likes of (Webb et al., 2009) tries to make a case on a generalization of such participation. Furthermore, (Williams, Martin-Perez & Kedirl, 2016) stated that the influx and the participation in the informal sector are linked with the informal entrepreneur’s ability to make a profit, increasing business performance, high subsequent annual sale, employment and productivity growth while being compared with businesses that were registered. The lapses of knowing the exacts spread of involved gender as regards the perceived drive into the informal market participation has been a major omission that works on assumption.

Furthermore, the delving of the gender-related study in the informal business has had a limited occurrence with the majority looking at the possibility of high female participation. This comes with gender considerations having broadly escaped the debate on motivational intent into the practice of informal entrepreneurship.

From the works of (McIlwaine & Datta, 2003), it has been replicated that the there is a need to focus on gender as a fundamental variable in placing differences as it is an important aspect of framing individualistic lives. This comes with the general knowledge that in all countries, the issues of gender participation are clearly in a divided state with the assumption of noted ills towards the female gender participation but limited corrections on this, especially in Subsaharan Africa.

Therefore, it is required to facilitate the implementation of equal gender involvement in informal entrepreneurship practices, there is a need to understand what motivates both gender practices. Generally, motivations are rooted in both economic and societal pressures in every society (Okereke, 2007).

Literature; (Brixiová et al., 2020; de Groot et al., 2017; Grant, 2013; Guerrero & Richards, 2015; Pueyo et al., 2020; Robichaud et al., 2010; Zhu et al., 2015) made it a trend that the participation in the informal market has been a female hub to mainly alleviate poverty. When not to alleviate poverty, a seemingly supposed intent of having an underprivileged gender; most cases, women are expected to be privy in this. As the possibility of male participation as an influx or buttressing the urge that other herculean responsibilities could be a driver for the male counterpart. Further bibliography study by Vuong et al., (2020) showed that amongst the lapses in the study of entrepreneurship, the major ones found wanting were network development, technology application, sex/gender, poverty reduction, internationalization and inter-generational transfer.

To this end, this study intends to bring to limelight the relevance of gender preference as regards the possible driver into informal entrepreneurship participation, focusing on the electronics market. The selection of the electronics market is as a deemed driver into industrialization as well as relevance in the assumption of the developed nation.


The study was carried out in southwest Nigeria in the electronics informal market. The study was conducted in six markets in six south-western states. The identified states in southwest Nigeria were Lagos State, Oyo State, Ogun State, Ekiti State, Ondo State and Osun state. The listed states were identified as thus based on the Nigerian perceived electronic system. The markets considered for the research were Ikeja computer village, Okelewo market, Bola Ige International market, Fagbesa market, Olukayode shopping complex and Ayo Fayose market respectively. For this study, there were selected based on the diversity and strength of the informal entrepreneurs across the Nigerian state. The adoption of the descriptive survey research design following the premise of (Osuala, 2005) was engaged.

These was analysed by periodic sighting which was carried out thrice with the inclusion of Saturday, a busy day at the various markets. Causal research was adopted for the quantitative method research design. The study population can be described as an infinite population because these informal entrepreneurs are not formally registered and are constantly mobile.

However, based on cluster sampling, the study considered informal electronic entrepreneurs operating in the under-listed market

i. Computer Village,Ikeja Lagos State

ii. FagbeseAdenle, Osogbo Osun State

iii. Ayo Fayose Modern, Ado-Ekiti Ekiti State

iv. Olukayode Shopping Complex, Akure Ondo State

v. Okelewo Market, Abeokuta, Ogun State

vi. Bola Ige International Market, Ibadan Oyo State.

The study adopted a sample size for an infinite population and distributed six hundred copies of questionnaire across the six states using the quasi-percentile to assess the market population. The adoption comes from the revealing observation that the six electronics markets are unequally saturated with informal entrepreneurs.

arrive at the sample size, (Kumar, 2012) posited a formula for deriving it as:

Z=Given z value

P=Percentage of Population

C=Confidence level





The use of a gatekeeper was used to access the predetermined respondents for the study. This was done to enrich the study with the required information that will provide the study with the required views and understanding about the market enticement. Where the population is highly dense, it is perceived to be filled with opportunity and this is the case of Nigeria.

To ensure proper respond based on population, it was further distributed as thus Table 1:

Table 1
Southwest Selected Informal Market Alloated Questionaires Distribution
S/N Market Names Quantitative samplings
1 Computer Village, Ikeja 255
2 Bola Ige International Market, Ibadan 128
3 Fagbesa Market, Osogbo 48
4 Okelewo Market, Abeokuta 78
5 Ayo Fayose Market, Ado-Ekiti 38
6 Olukayode Shopping Complex, Akure 53
Total 600

The Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) version 25 aided in the assessment of relevant statistical analysis was engaged in analysing the study data.


Five-hundred and forty-four questionnaires were retrieved and found suitable for analysis and that amounted to 90.67% response rate. The Table 2 and 3 and Figure 1below best represents this.

Table 2
The Southwest Selected Informal Market Retrieved Questionaires
S/N Names of Markets Total Distributed No retrieved % Total retrieved
1 Computer Village, Ikeja 255 209 81.89%
2 Bola Ige International Market, Ibadan 128 128 100%
3 Fagbesa Adenle, Osogbo 48 48 100%
4 Okelewo Market Abeokuta 78 68 87.17%
5 Ayo Fayose Market, Ado-Ekiti 38 38 100%
6 Olukayode Shopping Complex, Akure 53 53 100%
Total 600 544 90.66%
Table 3
Descriptive Statistic of Responses Based on The Gender of Informal Entrepreneurs on Social Motivation
Research Item Male Female
1 I do this job because I want to create social value for myself (Ms) 3.95 3.29
2 There is a probability that this informal business will enable me to enhance my social status. (Ps) 4.00 3.54
3 The informal business provides the required platform for social incentives such as catering for self and family as well as cordial relationship  (Is) 4.00 3.39
4 I maintain my informal business operation because I want to preserve my interpersonal relationships with my colleagues 3.67 3.21
5 My involvement in the informal market enables me to establish, maintain, and restore positive affective relations with others. 3.82 3.54
6 Cordial relation with other informal entrepreneurs encourages my willingness to operate informally. 3.87 3.46
7 I love this job because it enables me to have strong effects on other people 3.82 3.47
8 I participate in this business because it is a means of influencing the behaviour of another person 3.60 3.25
9 This business helps me in maintaining my position as the breadwinner of my home 4.00 3.40
Social Motivation 3.85 3.39

Figure 1: Descriptive Mean of Gender on Social Motivation in The Informal Market

The displayed statistical result on the Table 4 and Figure 2 above shows that the respondents from both genders agree with the measures of social motivation contained in the survey. The respondents agree that there is an energy surge in their entrepreneurial capability because of economic persuasion serving as Gusto, being a swing for participation in informal entrepreneurship participation. This was drawn from items designed to measure social motivation showing social value with a mean 3.95 and 3.29; enhancement of social status was reflected with a mean of 4.00 and 3.54; the cordial relationship had 4.00 and 3.39; maintenance of interpersonal relationships with my colleagues was 3.67 and 3.21; establish, maintain, and restore positive affective relations with others shows had 3.82 and 3.54; willingness to operate informally displayed 3.87 and 3.4; having strong effects on other people were with 3.82 and 3.47; influencing the behavior of another person showed 3.60 and 3.25 and responsibility of breadwinner position was with 4.00 and 3.40 for the male and female respectively. Thus, we can posit from the total mean of 3.85 and 3.39 for the male and female gender respondents respectively on the social motivation to participate in the informal market from the view of gender perception agreeing with the concept of social motivation as a drive to informal entrepreneurship in the electronics market. Though the level of agreeableness shows the male is driven into participation in the electronics market than the female, irrespective of both having a positive mean of participation. This was in sync with (Webb, Bruton, Tihanyi, & Ireland, 2013) in drafting the inclusion of group influence of informal entrepreneurial involvement.

Table 4
Descriptive Statistic of Responses Based on The Gender of Informal Entrepreneurs on Economic Motivation
Research Instruments Male Female
1 The income that I can get from these activities is increased because I operate informally. 4.01 3.75
2 The income from my business has to be able to cater for my family. 4.02 3.41
3 My affiliation with the informal market has boosted my economic condition 4.07 3.68
4 My affiliation with other informal entrepreneurs has alleviated my unemployment problem 4.04 3.77
5 I constantly learn survival techniques from my colleagues in the informal market to avert economic problems 3.94 3.95
6 The reason for my involvement in the informal market is the need for the enhancement of my economic power. 4.14 3.83
7 Engaging my business in these forms allows me to be cost-effective and more competitive. 4.05 3.67
Economic Motivation 4.04 3.72

Figure 2: Descriptive Mean Display on Gender Reflection of Social Motivation in The Informal Market

From the statistical result displayed on the table 4 above, respondents from both genders strongly agree with the measures of economic motivation contained in the survey. The selected respondents agreed that informal entrepreneurship because of economic enthusiasm serving as the pendulum for their participation in informal entrepreneurship participation aided this. This was drawn from items measuring operate informally with 4.01 and 3.75; catering for my family had 4.02 and 3.41; boosting economic condition reflected by 4.07 and 3.68; alleviating personal unemployment problem was 4.04 and 3.77; averting economic problems was displayed with 3.94 and 3.95; enhancement of economic power had 4.14 and 3.83 while the need to be involved in cost-effective and more competitive was 4.05 and 3.67 for the male and female respondents respectively.

In totality, the economic motivation reflected 4.04 and 3.72 for the male and female gender. A unique case of mean clearly shows that the female gender was noted to constantly learn survival techniques from her colleagues in the informal market to avert economic problems as against the male counterpart. Thus stipulating that intent of the female gender of being independent. In totality, the male respondent was found to be of more intent of participating in the informal entrepreneurship than the female counterpart.

T-Test Result

The two-sample showed that 435 male participants were found to be socially motivated (M=3.8587 SD=0.63775) compared to the 109 female participants in the selected informal market (3.3965, SD=0.76449 ) demonstrating a significant higher score than the female, t(542)=6.5, p=0.00. It also clearly was displayed the presence of a significant effect for motivation, t(542)=4.1, p=00. Going by the table 5 above, it was revealed that the descriptive statistics of the respective gender were significant. The table further revealed that the male gender has the highest mean value in both social and economic motivation into the practice of informal entrepreneurship in the informal market.

Table 5
Group Statistics
Gender N Mean Std. Deviation Std. Error Mean
SM Male 435 3.8587 0.63775 0.03058
Female 109 3.3965 0.76449 0.07322
EM Male 435 4.0404 0.66365 0.03182
Female 109 3.7235 0.89050 0.08529

However, the mean recorded by the female gender was also deemed high. It was further discovered that there was no significant difference between the two genders as regarding the motivation to participate in the informal electronic market. Notably, the tcal was also revealed by the table 6.

Table 6 
      Independent Samples Test
Levene's Test for Equality of Variances t-test for Equality of Means
F Sig. t df Sig. (2-tailed) Mean Difference Std. Error Difference 95% Confidence Interval of the Difference
Lower Upper
SM Equal variances assumed 3.474 0.063 6.490 542 0.000 0.46221 0.07122 0.32231 0.60212
Equal variances not assumed 5.825 147.831 0.000 0.46221 0.07935 0.30540 0.61903
EM Equal variances assumed 20.923 0.000 4.140 542 0.000 0.31693 0.07655 0.16657 0.46730
Equal variances not assumed 3.481 139.480 0.001 0.31693 0.09104 0.13694 0.49692

Conclusion & Recommendation

Going by the result of this study, it was established that there is no difference between the female and male gender as regards the motivation into the practice of informal entrepreneurship with respect into the electronics market. With this, The provision of gender inquisitive intent into informal business participation will reduce the estimated bias in the society about a particular expectation from any peculiar gender in the electronics market. it was also posited that the involvement of informal entrepreneurship in the electronics market was not a gender-based effect but a social drive as needed which needed to be infused for sustainable development in the nation. Based on this, it was recommended that the:

• This participation is not a result of gender-based reflection but amongst many others is the primary focus of providing support to one's existence.

• This is further restricted to the societal perception of who holds the torch of responsibility in society.

• The incorporation of the informal entrepreneurship into the school curriculum would further enforce and embrace its practice by both genders vis-a-vis establishing entrepreneurship mantra in the Nigerian business environment

• The implication of the above will bring about the entrance of gender equality, goal number 5, a sustainable goal that the nation intends to attain.

• Furthermore, the study clearly shows that there are lapses on gender-based comparison in the informal entrepreneurship and thus a need to fill the gap.


The authors appreciates landmark Univeristy for the support provided in the course of processing the article for publication


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