Factors Influencing Growth of Entrepreneurship in the Beekeeping Sector, Makueni County, Kenya
Mwangi, Watiri Ruth
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Entrepreneurship in agriculture is crucial to economic and social development in Kenya. According to the Kenyan Economic Survey of 2019 from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, agriculture contributed to 31 percent of Kenya’s GDP. However, only twenty-five percent of start-ups in the sector survive for the first three years. Entrepreneurship in the beekeeping sector is limited hence the need for the research. This research investigated the factors influencing the growth of entrepreneurship in the beekeeping sector in Makueni County. Specifically, the project examined the influence of government policy, the culture of the people, the impact of technical support, market accessibility and access to finance on the growth of entrepreneurship. Schumpeter’s theory explained the importance of policy, technical support, and financial support on the growth of entrepreneurship. Kirznerian theory underpins how vital policies are for the promotion of a conducive environment for entrepreneurs who are starting off or for growth of enterprises, the importance of access to markets, people’s culture, and government policy to the growth of entrepreneurship. Descriptive research design was used to understand the factors affecting entrepreneurship growth in the beekeeping sector in Makueni County. Due to the large geographical area of Makueni County, data was collected from Kibwezi and Kathonzweni. The target population consisted of one hundred and ten individuals. Questionnaires helped to reach all the respondents. The data was analysed using descriptive statistics and inferential statistics by Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). Descriptive analysis examined the relationship between the growth of entrepreneurship in beekeeping in Makueni County and government policy, culture, technical support, access to market and finance. The investigation revealed, market access to be the most important for the growth of entrepreneurship, hindered by lack of information on how to access diverse markets leading to growth of enterprises. Fifty-three per cent of the respondents sold their products to neighbours and the local market. They had little motivation to expand their businesses because of the little returns. Policy supporting beekeeping in terms of training and financial credit was available but not accessible to all. Access to finance was the third factor, but collateral requirement and high-interest rates on loans proved to be the main obstacles. The culture of entrepreneurship was high since many had family support. All respondents agreed that technical support was essential for them to gain the necessary skills to run their beekeeping enterprises. The study recommends that government policy guiding the beekeeping sector need to be broader to ensure quality products, access to markets and inclusive of all stakeholders in the sector. So that all have access to the training provided and the financial support. Market information should be readily available for entrepreneurs. The government can help entrepreneurs’ access external markets by creating networks that link them to consumers.