Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine the factors that constrain women petty traders' access to microcredit, and the innovative measures they have initiated in order to counter these constraints.
Design/methodology/approach: The paper is based on in-depth interviews with women micro-entrepreneurs drawn from a convenience sample of 20 petty traders in the market town of Awka - the capital of a state in Eastern Nigeria.
Findings: The paper identifies three main constraints - internal, socio-cultural and policy induced - as the key moderating influences on women petty traders' ability access to micro-credit.
Research limitations/implications: Considering the sample size and research context, the generalisation of the findings may need to be interpreted with caution. However, the paper finds evidence of most of these findings in other studies on other contexts.
Practical implications: This paper posits that the lack of access to credit promotes market exclusion, and deepens the socioeconomic and political vulnerability of women as a consequence. Such vulnerability has prompted these microenterpreneurs into venturing to alternative sources of credit in the form of "Women August Meetings". The paper has far reaching implications for public policy support geared towards "leveraging" and mainstreaming these initiatives for maximum outreach.
Originality/value: Previous research in the area of micro-credit access seem to have paid limited attention to the peculiar challenges of this segment of society, i.e. petty traders, who incidentally also form the bulk of occupants at the bottom-of-the-pyramid.