An Assessment of the efficacy of public policy frameworks on social enterprises in Kenya: challenges and opportunities for growth
Padwa, Damar Akinyi
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The social enterprise phenomenon has become notable in stature as a public policy agenda globally and nationally as a new model for responding to failures in market and public service delivery. Kenya and South Africa are at the forefront of this phenomenon in Africa but little is known on the influence of policy frameworks on the growth of social enterprises in Kenya. The study considers policy frameworks as the current legal forms and structures in which social enterprises operate. The main objective of this study is to assess the efficacy of public policy frameworks on social enterprises in Kenya. The specific objectives are to examine how the current policy frameworks influence the growth of social enterprises in Kenya; assess the challenges affecting the growth of social enterprises in Kenya; and explore the policy interventions that could provide opportunities for growth of social enterprises in Kenya. This study adopted a qualitative approach as it focused on selecting information rich cases who gave in-depth insights on the subject at hand. The study used an interview guide for data collection. Content and thematic analysis was used to analyze the data collected, with the results being presented in a narrative report with context description and themes taken from the respondents. The findings from this study show that the current policy frameworks do not have specific social enterprise policy domains that would promote the growth of social enterprises in Kenya. The study found a myriad of challenges affecting the growth of social enterprises, notably: lack of awareness and availability of public funding opportunities, lack of access to private investment funds, inappropriate taxation mechanisms, inadequate business support and knowledge share, and limited access to markets. The study recommends that the existing frameworks and structures should be expanded to define social enterprises and strengthened with policy domains that would promote the growth of social enterprises. The study also recommends that within the existing frameworks, a social enterprise entity under the auspices of a coordinating ministry, with actors drawn from intersecting government agencies and the social enterprise sector would adequately support the growth of social enterprises.