CAPACITY OF TANZANIAN MICRO, SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES (MMSES) IN TAPPING THE BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES IN THE EAST

Mzomwe Yahya, Pelagia Mutarubukwa

Abstract


After its collapse in 1977, the East African Community was revived again in 1999 with the aim of, among other things, elimination of trade barriers and increase trade volume between the member states. The impact of economic integration on the economic development and entrepreneurship prosperity in Tanzania cannot be underestimated owing to the income and employment opportunities created by SMEs.  However, the extent to which SMEs in Tanzania are capable of benefiting from the business opportunities associated with the EAC are virtually unclear.  Therefore, this paper aims at gaining a better understanding of the ways in which SMEs are capable of taking advantage of the EAC to enhance various entrepreneurship activities. The paper identifies challenges faced by the SMES and explores the efforts the government and other stakeholders have made so far in creating the environment for supporting the SMEs to fully exploit available opportunities. The study employs mostly qualitative analysis techniques whereby in-depth interviews were conducted among twenty (20) business people and conducted among five (5) government officials. Secondary data were used in the study to implement the empirical research design and complimenting field results. Summaries from transcribed data were used to establish the study findings. The findings revealed that Tanzania’s SMEs are less capable of tapping the business opportunities provided by the EAC due to the fact that these SMEs are micro and small enterprises, in the sense that they have low capital, people they lack entrepreneurial education at tertiary level, networking activities are mostly social rather than business focused, they are formal but not informed. It is recommended that entrepreneurship education be provided from primary to tertiary level, the ministry responsible for SMEs needs to be established, and that SMEs need to network among themselves as that will improve business environment. Schemes that will enable SMEs access loans and grants should be established.

Keywords


SMEs, EAC, entrepreneurship, SME capacity, business opportunities, SMEs challenges

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