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Europe & Central Asia

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"Market Systems Development (MSD) is an approach to poverty reduction that aims to create long-lasting and large-scale change by stimulating more inclusive growth. To achieve a systemic change vision, market systems programmes often partner with the private sector to introduce new or improved business practices, products and services. Understanding the mechanics of these business models is at the heart of programme success. This paper presents a framework for assessing the efficacy of business models. To help future practice be grounded in reality, we have included detailed business model cases studies from market systems programmes in Afghanistan, Zambia, Kosovo and Nigeria. The paper ends by extracting five key lessons for implementers to improve the way in which they engage with the private sector in building 'win-win' models."

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"This report describes the landscape of business incubators and accelerators in the UK, exploring the scale and distribution, both geographically and sectorally."

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"This report sets out to establish how well social enterprise addresses gender inequality and women's empowerment in the UK. It is part of a series of reports commissioned by the British Council to look at the link between social enterprise and women's empowerment across five countries: Brazil, India, Pakistan, the UK and the USA. It explores the strengths and weaknesses of social enterprise as a mechanism for empowering women and considers different ways it is being used for this end. It also examines the idea that social enterprise as a business model might advance women's empowerment even when that is not a specific objective."

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"A classical approach to collecting and elaborating information to make entrepreneurial decisions combines search heuristics, such as trial and error, effectuation, and confirmatory search. This paper develops a framework for exploring the implications of a more scientific approach to entrepreneurial decision making. The panel sample of our randomized control trial includes 116 Italian startups and 16 data points over a period of about one year. Both the treatment and control groups receive 10 sessions of general training on how to obtain feedback from the market and gauge the feasibility of their idea. We teach the treated startups to develop frameworks for predicting the performance of their idea and conduct rigorous tests of their hypotheses, very much as scientists do in their research. We let the firms in the control group instead follow their intuitions about how to assess their idea, which has typically produced fairly standard search heuristics. We find that entrepreneurs who behave like scientists perform better, are more likely to pivot to a different idea, and are not more likely to drop out than the control group in the early stages of the startup. These results are consistent with the main prediction of our theory: a scientific approach improves precision—it reduces the odds of pursuing projects with false positive returns and increases the odds of pursuing projects with false negative returns."

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