Entrepreneurial Competencies and Performance of Youth Enterprises in Manyatta Constituency, Embu County, Kenya.
Wairimu, Rosyln Miano
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Entrepreneurial competencies are generic competencies necessary for the success of self-employment over and above any occupational skills which may be required. They include and not limited to the individual values, beliefs and attitudes, interpersonal skills, decision making, communication skills, and networking skills and realistic awareness of risks and benefits of self-employment. Youth enterprises play an important economic role among the youth in Kenya. However, they face a mixture of success and failure with past statistics indicating that three out five fails within the first few months of operation. This study sought to establish the influence of entrepreneurship competencies on the performance of youth enterprises in Kenya with a special reference to youth enterprises in Manyatta Constituency, Embu County. The specific objectives of the study were to establish the influence of financial management skills, marketing skills and project management skills on the performance of youth enterprises in Manyatta Constituency, Embu County. The study was based on two main theories which include firm performance theory and entrepreneurship motivation theory all which support the thriving of youth enterprises and some of the necessary prerequisites for them to perform. The study adopted descriptive statistics to establish the influence of entrepreneurial competencies on the performance of youth enterprises in Manyatta Constituency, Embu County. The sample size of the study was 81 youth enterprises drawn from 6 wards in Manyatta constituency. The study relied on primary data that was collected by structured questionnaires. The collected questionnaires were coded into SPSS Version 23.0 for analysis and interpretation. Coefficient of regression was 0.907 an indication of strong correlation. Coefficient of determination R-squared was 0.823 which translates to 82.3%. This means that 82.3% variations in dependent variable would be explained by the independent variable. The study concludes that financial management positively influence performance of the youth enterprise in Embu County. Financial management skills enable youth entrepreneurs to collect financial data, keep proper financial records, plan their business and prioritize in business cash flow. Marketing skills enabled youth entrepreneurs to assess the market viability of their enterprises and to assess the level of competition in the area of business. Marketing skills enabled youth entrepreneurs to draw a strategy for their business, enabled youth entrepreneurs to reach out to customers and to solicit market information. Respondents were in agreement that they were trained on the importance of completing projects within provided timeframes, provided costing and delivering the quality promised at the time of signing a contract. The findings further show that youth entrepreneurs acquired skills on implementation of projects, importance of monitoring projects, evaluating projects and planning projects. The study recommends that financial management skills should enable youth entrepreneurs to collect financial data, keep proper financial records, plan their business and prioritize in business cash flow. Financial management statements should be used to track monetary value of goods and services in and out of the organization, enabled youth entrepreneurs to manage their stock movement, analyze the performance of businesses and enable business forecasting for the enterprises. Marketing skills should enable youth entrepreneurs to draw a strategy for their business, enable youth entrepreneurs to reach out to customers and to solicit market information. Marketing skills should enable youth enterprises to interact with customers, promote innovation and collect well-structured information about their market. The study further recommends that youth entrepreneurs should acquire skills on implementation of projects, importance of monitoring projects, evaluating projects and planning projects.