ENTREPRENEURIAL FACTORS INFLUENCING PERFORMANCE OF YOUTH RUN AGRO-BASED ENTERPRISES IN NGOLIBA WARD, KIAMBU COUNTY, KENYA
There is convincing evidence that the growth of entrepreneurship in Kenya has led to an increase in the number of SMEs in Kenya, including in the agro-based sector. Thanks to entrepreneurship, the SMEs play a key role in the economic development and contribute significantly to employment and poverty reduction among the youth in the country. Despite their significance, statistics however show that in Kenya, three out of five of the youth run small enterprises fail within the first three years of operations, and those that continue 80 percent fail before the fifth year. Consequently, it is important to focus on, amongst other issues, the entrepreneurial factors influencing performance of youth SMEs. The purpose of this study was to investigate the entrepreneurial factors influencing the performance of youth run agro-based enterprises in Ngoliba Ward, Thika Sub-County, Kenya. Four objectives guided the study; entrepreneurial skills, entrepreneurial competencies, proactive financial management and entrepreneurial training and their relationship to the performance of youth run agro-based enterprises. The study adopted survey research design with the population as the youth run agro-based enterprises and the target population as the registered youth run agro-based enterprises in Ngoliba Ward. The sampling frame consisted of 105 registered youth enterprises. Purposive sampling, Krejcie and Morgan (1970) sample size estimation table and simple random sampling were used as sampling methods to select a sample size of 100 respondents. Self-administered questionnaires incorporating both open-ended and closed-ended questions items were used to collect data from 100 respondents. Data analysis was done using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) programme. From the data analysis, the four independent variables (proactive financial management, entrepreneurial skills, entrepreneurial competencies, entrepreneurial training) were significant as they explained 84.2% of the performance of youth run enterprises in Ngoliba Ward. Entrepreneurial training had the best correlation of 0.763 followed by proactive financial management (r=0.761), entrepreneurship skills (r=0.520) and entrepreneurial competencies (r=0.350). The relationship between predictor variables and performance of youth run enterprises in the regression model showed that entrepreneurial training had the highest beta value of 0.443 followed by proactive financial management (beta=0.421), Entrepreneurial skills (beta=0.399) and lastly entrepreneurial competencies (beta=0.202). The findings imply that entrepreneurial training is the predictor variable that contributes the highest to the performance of youth run agro-based enterprises. The study concluded that entrepreneurship training is the best intervention in influencing the performance of youth run agro-based enterprises followed by proactive financial management. The study also concluded that institutions involved in empowering and funding the youth should ensure that the potential youth have the necessary entrepreneurial skills such as flexibility and adaptability in order to improve the performance of their agro-based enterprises. Further, Identification of gaps in the levels of entrepreneurial competencies among the youth entrepreneurs should be paramount before financial assistance is provided in order to spur innovation, creativity and enhanced performance. An area for further research is on entrepreneurial training impediments since majority of the respondents in the study area had not attended entrepreneurial training despite the same having the highest influence on the performance of youth run agro-based enterprises in Ngoliba Ward, Thika Sub-County.
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