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AN EVALUATION ON ADOPTION OF SMARTPHONE FOR THE PROMOTION OF SMALL SCALE BUSINESS AMONG YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR IN CAMEROON

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AN EVALUATION ON ADOPTION OF SMARTPHONE FOR THE PROMOTION OF SMALL SCALE BUSINESS AMONG YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR IN CAMEROON

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study

Mobile phones have become very popular in recent years and their development has been amazing. There were 4.7 billion unique mobile subscribers on a global scale at the end of 2015. This means that almost 70% of the world’s population was communicating through a mobile phone in 2015 (Nestor and Geraldine, 2019).In addition, a French media study released in March 2019 highlighted a significant surge in smartphone usage across Cameroon and other African nations in 2018. Citing the study, Médiamétrie reported that in Cameroon alone, the percentage of households owning smartphones had risen by 53%, reaching 82.2% in just the latter half of 2018. This statistic positions Cameroon among the countries with the highest rates of smartphone adoption in Africa. With such a significant portion of the population now utilizing smartphones, businesses and marketers have a compelling opportunity to reach consumers through mobile channels. Strategies such as mobile-friendly websites, targeted advertising campaigns tailored for mobile platforms, and mobile apps can be particularly effective in tapping into this expanding market of smartphone users.

Furthermore, Cameroon has witnessed a surge in entrepreneurial activities, particularly among the youth population, in recent years. This trend aligns with global shifts towards entrepreneurship as a means of economic empowerment and wealth creation. Concurrently, there has been a remarkable proliferation of smartphone usage across various demographic segments in the country. This convergence of entrepreneurial aspirations and technological advancement presents a unique opportunity to explore the role of smartphones in promoting small-scale businesses, especially among young entrepreneurs in Cameroon. However, despite the potential benefits that smartphones hold for small-scale business promotion, there is a need to critically evaluate their adoption and usage patterns among young entrepreneurs in Cameroon. Several factors may influence the extent to which smartphones are effectively leveraged for business purposes, including technological literacy, access to reliable internet connectivity, affordability of smartphones and data plans, and socio-cultural norms surrounding entrepreneurship and digital technology usage. 

The marketing mix's communication and digital technology usage component is called promotion. It's a notion that explains the arrangement of components, instruments, and variables that allow a business to provide customers with better value while also outperforming competitors(Hovde,2017).However,in today's consumer landscape, the saying "if a business isn't present on social media, it might as well not exist" appears to accurately reflect consumer behavior. It's evident that leveraging digital channels is crucial for brands, and this strategy should be embraced by Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) if they wish to remain competitive and expand. Despite this importance, many SMEs fail to fully harness the potential of digital tools (Gilmore, 2018). On the other hand, SMEs play a significant role in the global economy. For instance, in Europe, SMEs make up 99% of companies, with 92% being micro-enterprises, and they contribute over 75% of private sector jobs. Similarly, in the United States, SMEs represent 99.7% of all employer firms and employ half of the workforce (European Commission, 2018; Small Business Administration, 2016). The significance of these enterprises cannot be overstated.

Additionally, businesses typically aim for growth in market share, assets, and customer base to ensure profitability and maintain a competitive edge. However, marketing principles, as emphasized by Jobber & Ellis (2020), are essential for business development and directly impact corporate performance indicators like profitability and market share. SMEs must prioritize growth to survive and thrive in the market. According to Ayyagari et al. (2019), SMEs contribute approximately 75% of formal employment in the manufacturing sector in both developed and developing countries. Therefore, fostering the growth of SMEs is crucial for overall economic development. Sales, which generate income, are a primary driver of SME growth. Effective marketing strategies are essential for SMEs to raise awareness, differentiate themselves from competitors, and attract customers. While larger businesses benefit from substantial marketing budgets, allowing them to execute multi-channel marketing campaigns, SMEs face limitations due to resource constraints. Consequently, SMEs often rely on informal, bottom-up marketing approaches and have limited access to diverse marketing avenues. This reliance on word-of-mouth marketing can hinder their potential for growth (Jain, 2020). Additionally, SMEs often implement unplanned marketing strategies, further complicating their efforts to compete effectively. Therefore, a survey will be conducted to evaluate on adoption of smartphone for the promotion of small scale business among young entrepreneur in Cameroon .

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Undoubtedly, the adoption of mobile phones have brought significant positive changes to societies worldwide. However, businesses rely on promotion to raise awareness of their products and services, attract new customers, and cultivate loyalty among existing ones leveraging smartphones and social media platforms. Traditionally, promotional efforts such as advertising, public relations, and sales promotions have dominated the landscape, requiring significant financial investments and expertise (Kareem & Akoja,2019). However, for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with limited capital, these conventional methods pose challenges. SMEs often lack the resources to engage expensive professionals and consultants, and the outcomes of such promotional activities may take time to materialize.

In response to these challenges, SMEs are increasingly turning to more affordable yet effective means of promotion. Social media platforms have emerged as a popular choice for SMEs due to their accessibility and cost-effectiveness. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and WhatsApp provide SMEs with the opportunity to showcase their offerings and engage with customers directly. Unlike traditional methods, social media promotion requires minimal financial investment and technical expertise, offering SMEs quick access to a wide audience .

Furthermore, despite the benefits of social media promotion, SMEs still face obstacles such as the cost of data for internet access, unreliable network services, and the need to create compelling content and engage with their audience effectively (Rahbauer et al. 2018; Rana et al. 2019). These challenges underscore the importance of further exploring the potential of smartphone technology in overcoming barriers to business promotion for SMEs. By leveraging smartphones and social media platforms more effectively, SMEs can enhance their visibility, expand their customer base, and compete more effectively in the marketplace. Thus, it is in the light of these that the study seeks to evaluate on adoption of smartphone for the promotion of small scale business among young entrepreneur in Cameroon .

1.3  Objectives of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to evaluate on adoption of smartphone for the promotion of small scale business among young entrepreneur in Cameroon.  Specifically, the study will;

Determine the extent smartphone are utilized for commercial purposes among young Entrepreneur in Cameroon.

Ascertain the various commercial uses of smartphone among young entrepreneurs in Cameroon.

Evaluate the effect of the smart phone usage on the performance of SMEs in Cameroon.

1.4 Research Questions

The following questions have been prepared for the study:

To what extent are smartphones utilized for commercial purposes among young entrepreneurs in Cameroon?

What are the various commercial uses of smartphones among young entrepreneurs in Cameroon?

How does smartphone usage affect the performance of SMEs in Cameroon?

1.5 Significance of the Study

The findings of this study will Additionally, subsequent researchers will use it as a literature review. This means that other students who may decide to conduct studies in this area will have the opportunity to use this study as available literature that can be subjected to critical review. Invariably, the result of the study contributes immensely to the body of academic knowledge with regard to an adoption of smartphone for the promotion of small scale business among young entrepreneur in Cameroon 

1.6 Scope of the study

The scope of this study is to examine the impact of entrepreneurship on socioeconomic development of young graduates in Cameroon. Empirically, this study will determine the extent smartphone are utilized for commercial purposes among young Entrepreneur in Cameroon, ascertain the various commercial uses of smartphone among young entrepreneurs in Cameroon and evaluate the effect of the smart phone usage on the performance of SMEs in Cameroon.

Geographically, the study will be delimited to youths resident in Bamenda, Cameroon

1.7 Limitation of the study

In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, language barriers, and the attitude of the respondents. In addition, there was the element of researcher bias. Here, the researcher possessed some biases that may have been reflected in the way the data was collected, the type of people interviewed or sampled, and how the data gathered was interpreted thereafter. The potential for all this to influence the findings and conclusions could not be downplayed. 

More so, the findings of this study are limited to the sample population in the study area, hence they may not be suitable for use in comparison to other schools, local governments, states, and other countries in the world.

 1.8 Definition of Terms

Entrepreneurship: is the act of creating, organizing, and managing a business venture, typically with the goal of making a profit.

Smart phones: are advanced mobile devices that combine the functionality of a cell phone with capabilities similar to those of a computer

Young entrepreneurs: refer to individuals, typically in their youth or early adulthood, who establish and operate their own businesses. These individuals display entrepreneurial characteristics such as creativity, innovation, risk-taking, and a strong drive to succeed.

Social media: includes online platforms and technologies that enable users to create, share, and interact with content, as well as connect with others virtually to marker their products and services. Examples of social media platforms include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, among others (Wong, 2019) .


This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research



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