Assessment of institutional support service for technical enterpreneurship development in Southwestern Nigeria
The study identified the various technological and non- technological support services provided by institutions in Southwestern Nigeria to technical entrepreneurs; assessed the level of entrepreneurs’ awareness of the institutional support services and examined the methods of accessing the support services. Furthermore, it determined the factors influencing the provision and accessibility of the support services, and evaluated the impact of the support services on the performance of technical entrepreneurs. This was with a view to assessing the relevance and contribution of the support services to entrepreneurship development The study covered 14 institutions established to provide support services to technical entrepreneurs and 300 technical entrepreneurs beneficiaries. Data were collected using two sets of questionnaire. The first set was administered to 42 respondents from the 14 institutions to obtain information on the type of technological and non-technological support services provided, level of awareness creation to entrepreneurs and support services delivery mechanism. The second set of questionnaire was administered to 300 selected technical entrepreneurs beneficiaries from the institutional support services. The questionnaire elicited information on types of support services received, method of receiving the services and their impacts on the performance of the entrepreneurs on production output, sales turnover, profitability and product quality. Data were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics. The results showed that 5 main support services were provided by institutions to technical entrepreneurs. These include technical (64.3%), information (64.3%), human resource development (53.3%), financial (50%) and general services (50%). The level of entrepreneurs’ awareness of these support services was high as 66.7% of the institutions assisted more than 90% entrepreneurs with one form of support service or the other. The methods of accessing the support services by entrepreneurs were mainly through workshops/seminars (57%), application for support services (25.3%), guarantor/ collateral (6.8%), interviews (5.0%), and cooperative arrangement (3.6%). The results further showed that the factors that significantly influenced the provision of support services were: awareness of the support services (F=3.77, p< 0.05), attitude of beneficiaries of support services (F=4.03, p<0.05), number of support services in a particular location (F=10.56, p<0.01) and location of the support service providers (F=4.27, p< 0.05). The significant factors influencing the accessibility of support services by the entrepreneurs: location of the support service providers (F = 3.04, p< = 0.05), cost of services provided (F = 2.46, p 0<0.05), educational level of the entrepreneurs (F = 2.57, p = 0.05), age of enterprise (F = 3.40, p< 0.05), and scale of operation (F = 3.37, p < 0.05). The technical support services provided had significant impact on production output (F = 3.74, p < 0.05) and sales turnover (F = 3.00, p <0.05) of the entrepreneurs. Financial support services had significantly impacted production output (F = 2.29, p < 0.010) and sales turnover (F=2.53, p<0.05). Information services significantly impacted reduction in maintenance cost (F=2.580, p<0.05) and product quality (F=3.37, p<0.05) while human resource development had significant impact on profitability (F=2.68, p<0.05) and product quality (F=5.65, p<0.01). The study concluded that institutional support services had positive impact on technical entrepreneurship development in Southwestern Nigeria.