This was a comparative study of youth enterprise development funds [YEDF] and women enterprise development fund [WEDF] in Kaloleni Constituency-Kilifi County-Kenya. Devolution or decentralization has been one common requisite for addressing a wide range of issues such as economic inefficiencies, macroeconomic instability, governance deficiencies, and poor delivery of public services (Akai and Sakata, 2002). According to Bossert and Beauvais (2002), decentralization is pursued for a variety of reasons: technical, political, and financial. In Kenya, several efforts have been made to reduce unnecessary layers of government to make service provision to the populace more effective. Currently, there are various institutionalized devolved funds which include YEDF and WEDF (Ogolo, 2009).Although the YEDF and WEDF takes a relatively small amount of national resources its impact can be significant if the funds are efficiently utilized. While the fund was a good initiative, comprehensive research lacks on how much it has achieved in job creation. Despite the impressive performance within only one year of its operation the Fund has faced various challenges which included are that many young people lack entrepreneurial skills, lack of credible financial intermediaries in some areas of Kenya, fear of taking loans, inadequate information on investment opportunities and bureaucratic legal requirements for business registration among others. According to Alemayehu (2009), YEDF has faced other problems of government interference impacting negatively on its purpose. The afore-mentioned challenges are depicted to be the cause of inefficiency on realizing the intended mission of the YEDF and WEDF in creating employment. The study objectives were to establish whether lack of entrepreneurship skills, fear of taking loans, inadequate information on investment opportunities and bureaucratic legal requirements for business registration has led to poor uptake of YEDF and WEDF in Kaloleni Constituency. The study used a descriptive survey research design where the target population of this study consisted of the officials of the 33 groups who have benefited from YEDF/WEDF. Stratified sampling technique was used to select the sample where the sample of 24 groups funded by YEDF/WEDF was selected. From each of the YEDF/WEDF funded groups the study selected and administered the questionnaire to three officials thus the study had a sample size of 72 respondents. A structured questionnaire and interview guide was used to collect the data. Data was analysed using descriptive statistics. From the findings, the study concluded that women and youth groups had acquired entrepreneurship skills to manage the funds for maximum benefits. However, the skills gained were not adequate for utilization of YEDF and WEDF. The funds were not easily accessible owing bureaucratic procedures involved in the application. The legal requirements for business registration were highly prohibitive to the youths and women. Youths and women groups feared of taking the funds owing to corruption, lack of transparency. The youths and women were not updated with information on investment opportunities. The lack of entrepreneurship skills, fear of taking loans, inadequate information on investment opportunities and bureaucratic legal requirements for business registration has a significant relationship with uptake of YEDF and WEDF.
The study recommends that the government should increase the amount of YEDF and WEDF; address the bottlenecks hindering the uptake of YEDF and WEDF; and offer continuous training to the beneficiaries on entrepreneurship.