Performance in the printing industry and determinant factors: a case of two firms in Kenya
Over three and a half decades the policy of the government has been to increase the role of indigenous entrepreneurs on the economy. While the efforts that have been made have led to remarkable progress, there are persistent observations that local entrepreneurs have continued to experience considerable difficulties with respect to profitable and competitive operations. Similarly Ikiara (1988) observed that past efforts toward industrialization have failed and argued that it was necessary to put a new strategy in place. The aim of this study was to examine factors that have influenced performance of indigenous entrepreneurs in Kenya. It focused on two firms in the printing industry, one owned by an Africa entrepreneur and the other owned by an Asian entrepreneur. The principal objective of the study was to compare the performance of two firms over a period of five years in order to identify changes that occurred and factors that influenced those changes. The study aimed to identify the contribution of investment, experience, and the educational background of the entrepreneurs, and training in enhancing performance in the two printing firms. Subsequently, four hypotheses were examined in the study. One of the theoretical perspective adopted was that besides policy intervention measures that have been implemented by the Government, characteristics of the entrepreneurs in terms of investment, experience educational background and training would enhance performance in business development. Data for this study were collected using questionnaires and interview schedule. In addition, primary data were also obtained through management records. More data were obtained from Department of the Registrar of Industries, presently under the Ministry of Industrial Development. The study found that the characteristics of the entrepreneurs notably investment, experience, education and training, influenced performance in the two printing firms. It was observed that the nature of investment influenced the levels of production and development of infrastructure in the two printing industry influenced the difference in the management and operations of the two printing firms. It was observed also that the years of experience of the entrepreneurs in the printing industry influenced the difference in the management and operation of the two printing firms. Further, it was observed that educational provided capacity to entrepreneur and workers for adoption of production and management techniques printing industry and enabled them to take advantage of the available opportunities for competitive and sustainable operations. Similarly training of the workers enabled the entrepreneur, and employees to carry out appropriate management, production and marketing activities. It was noted that capital accumulation through loans and savings played a considerable role in business initiation and development. The study recommends that intervention measures be directed to enhancing access to capital, training on management, and technical operations and business counseling.