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Entrepreneurs can be classified as either necessity or opportunity oriented.

Necessity entrepreneurs are said to be survival-oriented and not properly equipped. They become entrepreneurs as a last resort, with little or no value added to the economy. Necessity entrepreneurs may be referred to as push entrepreneurs.

Opportunity entrepreneurs identify a market opportunity to fill and as a result contribute immensely to the economy. Opportunity entrepreneurs are also referred to as pull entrepreneurs.

According to empirical research by the Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA), most women in Kenya tend to be necessity entrepreneurs with low aspiration levels compared to men who are largely opportunity entrepreneurs.

Women tend to depend largely on their business for daily economic survival.  However their potential for generating innovations and job growth for competitive advantages are inhibited by their limited access to credit, markets, technology and other resources.

The creation of a diverse supply chain ensures inclusion of various groups in the procurement plans for government, non-for-profits organisations, and private sector.

Supplier diversity could provide a platform to transit necessity entrepreneurs to opportunity entrepreneurship with a real chance of value addition and output expansion.

The MSME survey of 2016 establishes that majority of unlicensed establishments in Kenya were female owned (61 percent) as opposed to male owned (32.1 percent). Further, these businesses are mostly micro, informal, generally face access to credit challenges, and are operated by poor women.

That’s why women find it difficult to participate in supplier diversity in government and beyond. To help different special interest groups (women, youth and persons with disability), the government implemented the Access to Government Procurement Opportunities (AGPO) programme in 2013 to provide them access to 30 percent of government procurement opportunities.

However, private sector organisations seem to be left behind in promoting supplier diversity.

The private sector organisations need to supplement government efforts of promoting supplier diversity and inclusion by opening such opportunities to the special interest groups. Overtime, necessity entrepreneurs may become progress-oriented like the opportunity entrepreneurs.