International Networks in Innovation Process as a Source of Competitiveness in Small and Medium Sized Enterprises in Nairobi City County Central Business District
The study objective was to establish the role of international networks in innovation process as a source of competitiveness among the SMEs in Nairobi City County Central Business District. The specific objectives of the study were; to establish the factors influencing SMEs to undertake International Networking, to establish the extent to which international networks contributed to innovation in the SMEs and to establish the extent to which international networks has contributed to competitiveness of the SMEs. This study used descriptive research design. The population of the study was all the Small and Medium Sized Enterprises operating in Nairobi Central Business district. According to the County Government of Nairobi records (2016) there are 726 SMEs operating in Nairobi Central Business District. The researcher used simple random sampling technique. The technique accorded all the members of the population equal chance of being selected for the study. The researcher picked the SME that fell in a number after every ten in the County Government of Nairobi records (2016). This enabled the researcher to arrive at 73 SMEs as the sample size. The study used primary data which was collected using semi structured questionnaire. Data was analysed using statistical package for social sciences based on the questionnaires. In particular, mean scores, percentages and frequency distributions were used to summarize the responses and to show the magnitude of similarities and differences. Results were presented in frequency tables and charts. The study concluded that; absence of skilled employees in region influenced SMEs to undertake international networking to a great extent. The study also found out that; internal characteristics and capabilities of SMEs contributed to innovativeness of SMEs in the NCBD to a great extent. From the findings it was also noted that international accumulation of tacit knowledge; change and elimination of boundaries inside and between organizations in the international innovation system; integration of tacit knowledge with research and development based codified knowledge contributed to innovation in the SMEs to a great extent. The study found out that; SMEs can use international networks as a tool to collude against common rivals or reduce competition by binding competitors as allies, enjoy first mover advantage by exploiting speed to market, and international inter-firm networks and common know-how cause the emergence of embedded tacit knowledge to a great extent.
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