Relationship between University Industry Linkages and Business Development Services Accessibility by Micro and Small Enterprises Neighbouring St. Augustine University in Tanzania
Nkirina, Peter Severina
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Micro and small enterprises (MSEs) play a crucial role in development globally and Tanzania in particular where majority of businesses are in this category. Despite their importance, MSEs continue to face challenges emanating from inaccessibility to business development services (BDS). Universities which have new roles in the competitive global world where innovation is a crucial factor for development are important sources of such services through university industry linkages. Though there are over 20 universities in Tanzania providing various services, MSEs have continued to face problems ofBDS inaccessibility. This study investigated the relationship between the university industry linkages and accessibility to business development services by micro and small enterprises neighbouring St. Augustine University in Tanzania. The following objectives were pursued; i)To establish the relationship between university education activities and accessibility to business development services by MSEs neighbouring St. Augustine in Tanzania ii)To determine the relationship between university research activities and accessibility business development services by MSEs neighbouring St. Augustine in Tanzania, iii)To find out the relationship between university outreach activities and accessibility to business development services by MSEs neighbouring St. Augustine in Tanzania. Descriptive and explanatory research designs guided the investigation. A population of 135 respondents was targeted which comprised of 105 MSE owners operating in St. Augustine University neighbourhood and 30 members of the university management board. Data was collected through a questionnaire for MSE owners and interview guide for university management board. Data analysis was done using frequencies, means and correlations were used to test the hypotheses. ANOV A was used to test the model fitness and a multiple regression analysis tested the contributory power of the independent variables (education, research and outreach activities) to the dependent variable (BDS accessibility). A response rate of 100% for MSE owners and 86.7% for university management board members was attained. Findings showed that university education and outreach activities influenced accessibility to BDS by MSEs neighbouring St. Augustine University in Tanzania. The university research was found not to have statistically significant relationship with BDS accessibility by MSEs in the university neighbourhood. The study concludes that university education and outreach activities need to be promoted because they enhance accessibility to BDS by MSEs which are important in the economic development. The study recommends that the university need to make concerted efforts in developing more education and outreach programmes that are specifically targeted at MSEs' promotion because they influenced accessibility to BDS by MSEs neighbouring the university. Future researchers can look into BDS accessibility by MSEs in other universities' neighbourhood to compare the results. A study on impact of university BDS on MSEs' performance can provide a basis for promoting university industry linkages for BDS accessibility among MSEs.