Determination of unique marketing challenges encountered by young entrepreneurs in Nairobi Kenya
Youth unemployment is a major problem in Kenya. Youth entrepreneurship presents a great opportunity for addressing this challenge. However, young entrepreneurs face many obstacles. Many studies conducted regarding young entrepreneurs have focussed on general challenges they encounter. One of the specific handicaps the young entrepreneurs face in this regard is in execution of the marketing function. The specific objectives of this study are as follows; firstly, to identify the specific marketing challenges faced by young entrepreneurs. Secondly, to find out the strategies used to counter the marketing challenges. Lastly the study seeks to determine possible interventions that can mitigate these challenges. With regard to objective one, key findings are that the major marketing challenges faced by young entrepreneurs are as follows beginning with the most important; selling products outside the country, economic conditions and their impact on customers, competing with prices by competitors, getting story about the business published in the media and dealing with competition. Others are organising events to popularize the business, setting aside sufficient financial resources for marketing and designing and executing sales promotion. Next is keeping up with the level of technological advancement in the industry and lastly is maintaining an appropriate location for the business. Regarding objective two the results indicate that the key strategies used to counter the above challenges in order of importance are as follows; Use of online marketing e.g. social media, creating and maintaining good relations with customers, producing high quality products, conducting market research, offering attractive prices, networking and the entrepreneur personally undertaking marketing functions. Others are continuous product development, investing in professional marketing staff and outdoor advertising e.g. posters. Results show that the most important intervention would include the following; easing of access to finances by young entrepreneurs and capacity building through business development services such as training on marketing, provision of mentorship and networking opportunities, enhancing access to markets for young entrepreneur’s products, organizing shows and exhibition for products by young entrepreneurs and development of supportive infrastructure. They also include; developing government policies that support young entrepreneurs, lowering of advertising rates for SMEs and eradication of counterfeit and illegal products. The last is increasing access to marketing experts e.g. through lower rates.