Mobile phones and growth of microenterprises : a case study of safaricom's "zidisha biashara" customers
Mwangi, Geoffrey Wandeto
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The study aimed at establishing the impacts of usage of mobile phones on the growth of microenterprises. The study focused on mobile phones (and not telephony or telecommunications in general) because of the speedy adoption and widespread usage of mobile phones witnessed in Kenya over the last 10 years. The objectives of study were based on three indicators of business growth i.e. income, profitability (cost management) and customer base. The study adopted a descriptive design method since it aimed at discovering and describing if a relationship exists between the variables. The sample for the study was 100 microenterprises from Safaricom's Zidisha Biashara programme sampled purposively. Due to the near ubiquitous nature of mobile phones in Kenya non-users were not studied. Structured questionnaires were used for collecting data. They were administered using both manual and online methods. Data analysis was carried out using descriptive and inference statistics. In the findings ofthe study, a majority 91.3% ofthe respondents agreed that the use of mobile phones led to increase in business income, profitability and customer base. The study concluded that, holding other growth factors constant, the use of mobile phones has a significant influence on the growth of microenterprises. The study recommended that promoters of micro enterprises should incorporate the features and capabilities of the mobile phone as part of the tools they provide to support microenterprises. It also recommended that owners and managers of micro enterprises should incorporate a mobile phone strategy in their operations and explore innovative ways of using it as a driver for growth. A final recommendation was made to the leT community to develop mobile applications to support microenterprises in areas such as mobile advertising, mobile payment platforms and customer relationship management.