CHATER ONE INTRODUCTION 1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY The phenomenon of business ownership in Nigeria dates back to pre and post-colonial era and involved commercial activities such as wholesale and retail trading of which women were predominant. There were also enterprises such as weaving, fishing, food processing, agricultural production, fashion design, etc. which were much more predominant with the women . Nigeria enjoyed a phenomenal economic growth during the oil boom period of 1973-1980, with per capita GDP rising from N25, 740,000 in 1971 to N128, 700,000 in 1980. Yusuf and Schindehutte, (2000). In this period, despite the dramatic rise in oil revenues, misdirected government policies left the country's economy vulnerable. Public investment was often focusing on costly prestigious and inappropriate infrastructure projects with questionable rates of return. The government also failed to strengthen public finance and pursued expansionary financial policies which created significant inflationary pressures. Inward looking industrial policies also bred a non-competitive manufacturing sector.