RESOURCES AND PERFORMANCE OF SMALL AND MEDIUM SIZED ENTERPRISES IN THE RETAIL SERVICE SECTOR: MODERATING ROLE OF GENDER (Published)
Small and Medium businesses play a key role in economic growth. In 2006 there were 26.8 million small firms in USA. These firms generated over half of gross domestic product and employment in all sectors. They are also a major source of innovation in creating new products technologies and services. Despite availability of resources to start or operate men and women owned businesses experience disparity in performance especially in growth and size, with women registering lower performance compared to men. Research indicates that women owned small businesses continue to lag behind in terms of growth and size compared to men owned small businesses. The main objective of this study was to determine the relationship on finance resource use and performance of SMEs, assess the relationship of personal goals and performance of SMEs and finally establish how gender moderates the relationship between firm’s resources and performance of SMEs. The study adopted explanatory survey study design using a sample of 600 respondents drawn from a target population of 1200 SMEs in the service sector in Eldoret Municipal Council, Uasin Gishu County. Both women and men business owners was divided using simple random technique .the study employed quantitative methods of data collection. Data was sorted; coded and analyzed using SPSS packages Version 17 and analyzed using inferential statistics in order to assess the relationship between the variables in the model. From the study There was a strong positive relationship between the human capital resource education and performance [r=.232, n=525, p<.005], (Table4.22), indicating a positive correlation between human capital resource-education and performance of SMEs. Thus the more educated business owners are the higher their performance in SMEs.There was a strong positive correlation between the human capital resource experience and performance [r=.099, n=492, p<.001], indicating a positive correlation between human capital resource experience and performance of SMEs. The more experienced the business owners are the higher their performance in SMEs. The results indicated that there was significant effect of gender as a moderator on the relationship between resources and performance. This study contributes to body of knowledge, theory development and further research in performance of SMEs. The study concludes financial and human capital resources are important in the performances of both women and men headed firms. The study recommends the gender men and women should be encouraged to acquire the human and financial resources and set business goals and maximize the utilization of these resources adequately. The government of Kenya should integrate and mainstream gender issues on resources in their policies in order to be adopted by business owners.