An Exploratory study of professional development of SME employees
Githendu, Caroline N.
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There has been an explosive interest in SMEs growth coming from the fact that SMEs are a major source of new employment. In Kenya, this interest has been from financing to capacity development – provision of building development services – of the businesses. Most major banks have strategies to grow their SME and micro business portfolio. The IFC, the private arm of the World Bank, has instituted an SME Solutions Centre. The Ministry of Trade has instituted a business training programme for SME owners as have other government ministries. Many private sector institutions have also developed programmes for the enhancement of SMEs. The SME sector in Kenya is still heavily under-researched, despite many studies being done. This study targeted 100 SME owner managers of SMEs based in Nairobi and their investment towards the development and training of their employees. The study was an exploratory study which sought to answer the following questions: do SME owners train their staff, to what extent the training is planned for and what the extent of the owners of SME’s awareness of training services availed by SME Capacity Building Institutions is. The study looked at the subject through the lens of the educational status of both the employees and the SME owners. The study found that the majority of SME owners do not train their staff. The majority of SME managers do not plan for training in their businesses and yet the study found that planning for training as part of business strategy will positively affect the incidence of training. While many managers are aware of cheap or free training services available in the market, they do not make use of them. The educational level of the manager does not affect the occurrence of planning for training in the SME firm. The educational level of the employees does not affect demand for training in the SME firm. An SME was considered as an establishment with a permanent set-up operating from the same place every day, and having between 2-30 employees.