Accepted 4th March, 2019
Sector specificity and prioritization has been found to be one of practical option for harnessing scarce resources and capabilities for enhancing Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) development and promotion strategies such as industrial cluster, incubation programmes and Business Associations (Bas). Although sector-specific Bas tend to deliver focused outreach services to their members but the assessment and comparability of Bas internal operation and performance between countries is hardly studied. This study examined and compared the internal performance of selected sector- specific Bas in the two countries using selected internal performance indicators. Convenient sample size of this study was 145 food processing SMEs belonging to four Bas of which two from Rwanda namely The Maize Millers Association of Rwanda (AMMIRWA) and The Association Pour la promotion des Producteurs de jus, boissons alcoolisies et alcooliques au Rwanda (APPROJUBAAR) and the two Tanzanian Bas were The Tanzania Food Processors Association (TAFOPA) and The Association of Mango Growers (AMAGRO). Questionnaires and semi structured interviews were administered to SMEs that were Bas members. The descriptive analysis was employed. Many studies attend much of the wholesome contribution and profiling of Bas lacking specific insights on internal performance indicators. This paper contributes in covering this gap. Overall study findings revealed that Rwandan Bas internal performance was relatively better compared to Tanzanian ones. It is recommended that the structure of apex organization to be formally hierarchical to avoid multiple memberships and conflicts with other member-based associations.
Keywords: business association, SMEs, innovation, performance, sector-specific