Influence of capacity building on financial performance and growth of women owned small and medium enterprises in gikomba market; nairobi county, kenya.
Small and medium enterprises are widely recognized in the world, for their role in the social, political and economic development. Women are becoming increasingly important in the socio- economic development of both developed and developing economies as they own most of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). However, efforts to improve financial performance and growth of SMEs run by women remain futile partly due to lack of adequate knowledge by the concerned stakeholders on how capacity building impacts on performance and growth of women owned SMEs. The purpose of the study was to establish the influence of capacity building strategies on financial performance and growth of women owned SMES in Gikomba market in Nairobi County, Kenya. The objective of the study was to examine the influence of training and development strategy, networking skills strategy, attitude towards gender equality strategy and leadership strategy on performance and growth of women owned SMES. In this study the population of the study was grounded on the entrepreneurship theory. The study employed descriptive survey research design. The population of the study was women owning Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) at Gikomba Market in Nairobi County. The researcher employed proportionate, simple random sampling techniques in identifying 357 respondents to be included in the sample. Observation and interviews methods of data collection were employed to gather data. Data analysis involved the use of qualitative techniques in derivation of explanations and inferences from the findings through logical descriptions, and quantitative analysis through descriptive statistics. From the findings, the study concluded that majority of the women owned SMEs in Gikomba Market were run on trial and error basis as majority of the owners had never received training and development on entrepreneurship. Training on entrepreneurship was critical in enhancing financial performance and growth of women owned SMEs. However, the fact that majority of the SMEs owners had not been trained on entrepreneurship; they lacked expertise. The networking skills development strategy influenced performance and growth of women owned SMES to a great extent. The networking skills development strategy was a key strategy required to enhance the performance and growth of women owned SMES. The majority of the women entrepreneurs were empowered in managing their businesses through the various empowerment forums that they attended. This helped the women to better manage their SMEs and improve their profitability. The attitude towards gender equality influenced performance and growth of women owned SMES to a moderate extent. The study further revealed that gender sensitisation forum that they attended influenced performance and growth of women owned SMES since women had positive attitude towards undertaking risks in enterprises that are labelled as belonging to men. The leadership strategy influenced performance and growth of women owned SMES to a moderate extent. The majority of the women entrepreneurs lacked critical leadership skills in managing their SMEs which slowed down the growth of women owned SMEs as they had never attended leadership training. The leadership strategy enhanced the business management as well as led to recruitment and upward mobility of women to position of business top management and decision-making. This study may be of significance to women entrepreneurs as it identified the gaps and outline the capacity building needs of women entrepreneurs in Kenya. The study may also inform the relevant stakeholders on the appropriate strategies to be used in increasing women productivity and sustainability of SMEs.