Sustainabillty of business development services : gaps analysis of the Kenyan market
Olomi, Donath R.
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A key challenge in entrepreneurship and private sector development is the provision of sustainable Business Development Services (BDS). particularly for micro and small enterprises. This study investigates how sustainability of BDS can be achieved, and how some providers manage to develop sustainable BDS and not others. using Grounded Theory. The .findings suggest that there are at least nine specific demand-and-supply-side gaps in the BDS market which providers need to identify and fill if they are to become sustainable. The gaps relate to awareness. value, trust, quality, capacity, unwillingness to pay, appreciation, inability to pay and perception. How providers identify and fill these gaps depends on their strategic orientation, which is in turn shaped by their capabilities, their motivation to sustain the business and e:external factors. The findings have both theoretical and practical implications. Success in the industry requires a high level of dedication, commitment and patience than is typically needed in other industries. It takes time and personal sacrifice to invest in building relationships and trust with clients and incremental learning and innovation to fill the gaps. Filling some of the gaps requires collaboration among service providers. Some others require the action of the industry as a whole. The implications for policy is that BDS development endeavors should take into account the specific demands of the industry and take a holistic view that encourages the right kind of people to join the sector and for the gaps to be addressed at all levels.