ROLE OF DIGITAL MEDIA IN THE UPTAKE OF YOUTH ENTREPRISE DEVELOPMENT FUND IN NAIROBI AND MACHAKOS COUNTIES

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ABSTRACT
This research was carried out to determine the role of digital media in the uptake of Youth Enterprise Development Fund and it targeted young entrepreneurs living in Nairobi and Machakos counties, who had secured loans from the Youth Fund to start or boost their startups. Objectives of this study were to determine the role of digital media in influencing uptake of the youth fund, determine awareness level created by Youth Fund using digital media platforms, find out the challenges the youth face in accessing loans and determine youth perception on Youth Fund’s goal of tackling unemployment. Data was collected through interview schedule from 336 respondents, who were beneficiaries of Youth Fund. This was supplemented by policy-related data from three focus group discussions conducted with employees of Youth Fund. The researcher used simple random sampling technique. Quantitative and qualitative data analysis methods were used with data presented in forms of narratives, tables, figures, charts and bar graphs. This study found out that digital media influenced uptake of loans by creating awareness and addressed challenges youth face in accessing information. It also established that most of the respondents, before joining the fund, were informed about Youth Fund loans through family and friends. Additionally, the youth want Youth Fund to increase its presence online beyond the fund’s website and Facebook accounts and incorporate other social media platforms by introducing a dedicated digital Fund’s App that will have simplified text contents that can be downloaded and shared easily. This study recommends Youth Fund to start an online tracking service, which will make fast follow-ups on how the youth were utilizing their loans and development of their enterprises. Additionally Youth Fund should launch free Wi-Fi hotspots at its sub-county offices across the country where youth can connect online easily by accessing the fund’s internet and share their experiences, download the fund’s digital App and seek all other relevant information to guide their running of business ventures.

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