FACTORS AFFECTING ACCESSIBILITY OF MICROFINANCE SERVICES AMONG THE YOUTH IN NAKURU COUNTY, KENYA
Financial sector development is recognized as a prerequisite to growth and poverty reduction. The goal of microfinance is to provide “booster shot”, and financing that would lead to the following projected outcomes, self-sufficiency for talented youth entrepreneurs, breaking of poverty cycle, facilitating and encouraging entrepreneurial spirit in quest for self-reliance and economic empowerment through business expansion and growth. Microfinance is seen as a solution to include on a large-scale previously excluded poorer groups like the youth without access to capital into the financial system so that they may “rise out of poverty” by on their own. This study was designed to assess the factors influencing accessibility of microfinance services amongst the youth in Nakuru County. The aim of the study was based on three objectives: entrepreneurship education and training and government policies and their influence on accessibility of microfinance services for youth. However, the study intended to answer two research questions based on the two objectives in relationship to accessibility of micro finance services for the youth. The study adopted survey design that was carried out in Nakuru County. The study sample comprised of 75 registered groups in the county. The instruments of data collection were self-administered questionnaires. The study concluded that, potential of entrepreneurship education and training to the overall sharpening of entrepreneurial instincts of youth entrepreneurs cannot be understated. Entrepreneurship education and training can drastically convert a novice youth entrepreneurs into a budding one with the knowledge to adapt, conquer and cope with the challenges in the world of business. Availability of affordable and accessible microfinance services is virtually important in enabling the budding youth entrepreneurs to succeed in business. Government policies on youth entrepreneurship should aim at reducing the bureaucracy in the participation of youth entrepreneurs in business. The current regime of regulatory framework requires an adaptation and inclusiveness to ensure that the youth entrepreneurs are incorporated and accommodated to engage in entrepreneurship. The study recommended that In order to enhance the full participation of youths in entrepreneurship and improve the wellbeing of their survival, the youths should be facilitated to access affordable microfinance credits. Also the government in collaboration with development partners should build capacity for youths to use credit efficiently and enforce laws for defaulters. On areas for further studies, the study on the determinants of entrepreneurial characteristics affecting accessibility of microfinance services among the youth in Nakuru County should be undertaken in other counties in Kenya.
Key Words: Accessibility, Microfinance
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