ENTREPRENEURIAL COMPETENCIES: A SINE QUANON FOR SUCCESSFUL OPERATION OF SMALL AND MEDIUM SCALE ENTERPRISES (SMEs) BY GRADUATES OF TECHNOLOGY AND VOCATIONAL EDUCATION FROM TEITIARY INSTITUTIONS IN ENUGU STATE, NIGERIA.
Keywords:Entrepreneurship, Competencies, Small and Medium scale enterprises
The study investigated the entrepreneurial competencies needed by Technology and Vocational Education (TVE) graduates for effective operation of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Enugu state. Three research questions guided the study and three null hypotheses were tested at 0.05 level of significance. The population for the study was 3,306 respondents comprising 113 TVE lecturers in tertiary institutions and 3,193 registered managers of small and medium scale enterprises in Enugu state. A simple random sampling technique was used to select 41 TVE lecturers and 302 SMEs managers getting a total of 343 respondents. A structured questionnaire containing 25 items was validated by three experts, two from TVE Department and one from the area of Measurement and Evaluation (M&E) in the Department of maths and Computer Education, all from the Faculty if Education, Enugu State University of Science and Technology, (ESUT), Enugu. The 25 items in the Questionnaire were retained after validation, and was used for data collection of the study. Test-retest method was used to establish the reliability of the instrument and data collected was analysed with Pearson product moment correlation which yielded a reliability coefficient of 0.78. A total of 332 copies out of 343 copies of the questionnaire were correctly filled and returned, and were used for the study, representing 96.8 percent return rate. Mean and standard deviation were used to answer the research questions, while t-test was used to test the null hypothesis at 0.05 level of significance. Findings revealed that TVE graduates of tertiary institutions in Enugu state require managerial, communication and marketing competencies for effective operation of SMEs. It was recommended among others that governmental, non-governmental agencies and financial institutions should ensure the provision of latest relevant teaching facilities (machines & tools) and instructional materials that will enhance effective teaching and learning of the identified entrepreneurial competencies in all the tertiary institutions in Enugu State. This would enable TVE lecturers to use relevant practical facilities (Equipment, Machine & tools) and instructional materials in meeting the demands for successful establishment and effective operation of SMEs in Enugu State.