Theme
Capacity Development

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"The Government of Nicaragua and the US foreign assistance agency, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, launched a rural business services program designed to boost the income of the small farm sector. Relying on a randomized rollout strategy, this paper reports the results of a multi-year impact evaluation that spanned the 5-year life of the program. We argue that impacts of a program of this sort are unlikely to be fully revealed by standard binary treatment estimators and show that temporal pattern of impact indeed evolves in important ways over time. Income in the activities targeted by the program steadily rose, plateauing at a 30% increase over baseline after two years in the program. The program also appears to have provoked signicant increases in both mobile and perhaps xed farm capital. However, on average there have been no signicant impacts on household living standards to date. Finally, conditional quantile regressions give evidence of quite substantial heterogeneity in program impact."

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"A randomized control trial with 945 entrepreneurs in Jamaica shows positive short-term impacts of soft-skills training on business outcomes. The effects are
concentrated among men, and disappear twelve months after the training. We argue that the main channel is increased adoption of recommended business practices, exclusively observed in the short run. We see persistent effects on an incentivized behavioral measure of perseverance after setbacks, a focus of this training. We compare a course focused only on soft-skills to one that combines soft-skills training with traditional business training. The effects of the combined training are never statistically significant."

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"Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are thought to be important drivers of growth in developing economies, but entrepreneurs in these countries face many barriers, including poor access to training, finance, and business networks. In Colombia, Fundación Bavaria's "Destapa Futuro" (Open the Future) program identifies promising enterprises and provides them with a suite of financial, technical, business, and training resources. Researchers found that the trainings did not affect key business outcomes, such as sales and profits, but helped entrepreneurs to expand their business networks."

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"We investigate the effects that the experience level of accelerator management teams has on the performance of the accelerators they manage. In particular, we examine how the collective business experience of the accelerator managers influences the survival and growth of tenant firms within the accelerator. The experience of accelerator managers is assessed from two perspectives: their own direct knowledge from operating entrepreneurial startups, and their ability to access the knowledge of others from their professional networks. The survival and growth of tenant firms is assessed as the hazard rates for successful exits (acquisitions) and unsuccessful exits (firm failures). We find evidence to suggest that increased knowledge of accelerator managers reduces the risk of firm failures and that this reduction can be attributed more to differences in the amount of direct experience the accelerator management team has as founders in startups, than to differences in connectedness to the ecosystem."

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"Large amounts of funding are going towards programmes to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in low- and middle-income countries in order to increase revenue and profits, generate employment, and, so, create economic growth and reduce poverty. The Campbell review summarizes evidence of the impact of these programmes on measures of SME performance including revenues, profits, and productivity, as well as the firms’ ability to generate employment and increase their labour productivity Included studies examine interventions targeted at SMEs (up to 250 employees) involving tax simplification, exports and access to external markets; support for innovation policies; support to local production systems; training and technical assistance, and SME financing and credit guarantee programmes. Findings from 40 studies are summarised in the review. These studies present evidence from 18 low- and middle-income countries, with 26 studies analysing programmes in Latin America, six from Asia and five from Africa."

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"Accelerator programs are an increasingly important part of entrepreneurial ecosystems. While accelerators have core defining features—fixed-term, cohort-based educational and mentorship programs for startups— there is also significant variation amongst them. In this paper, we relate key variation in the antecedents, organizational design and operation of these programs to theories of firm-level entrepreneurial performance. We then document descriptive correlations between these design elements and the performance of the startups that attend these programs. In doing so, we probe the connections between design and performance in ways that integrate previously disparate research on accelerators and expand our understanding of startup intermediaries. Our findings delineate the building blocks as well as an agenda for future researchers to build upon not only our understanding of accelerators, but also our understanding of what new ventures need to survive and flourish."

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"This paper explores the effectiveness of goal setting and accountability within group-based entrepreneurship initiatives in creating human capital. The study uses a randomized cluster trial to compare the experimental and control groups of entrepreneurs. The results suggest that frequent goal setting and accountability in group settings provides a greater number of learning experiences and human capital development opportunities available to entrepreneurs than those that did not engage in the same level of goal setting."

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"Do business accelerators affect new venture performance? We investigate this question in the context of Start-Up Chile, an ecosystem accelerator. We focus on two treatment conditions typically found in business accelerators: basic services of funding and coworking space, and additional entrepreneurship schooling. Using a regression discontinuity design, we show that schooling bundled with basic services can significantly increase new venture performance. In contrast, we find no evidence that basic services affect performance on their own. Our results are most relevant for ecosystem accelerators that attract young and early-stage businesses and suggest that entrepreneurial capital matters in new ventures."

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"Entrepreneurship is an engine for economic development worldwide (Kelley, Singer, & Herrington 2016). For developing economies, the importance of entrepreneurship is associated with increased productivity and reduction in the rising unemployment rates, particularly among the youths. Consequently, several models and support programmes have been designed to facilitate successful entrepreneurial activities amongst youth. The article discusses the business acceleration model of the Global Business Labs (GBL) which is replicated in Botswana, Namibia and Uganda based on a Swedish model, between 2012 and 2015 but failed in Mozambique and Zambia. Using a multiple case study method, this article presents the results of a cross-country case analysis of the GBL programme with a view to understand the emergence of a business accelerator. Despite replication of the programme in respect of concepts, materials and operational systems, the cases reveal variations in operational experiences and acceleration performance across the five countries. Using the emergence theory, the article highlights these differences. The major contribution of the study to theory, in determining how business accelerators come into being, includes the duality of intentions and exchange between key stakeholders and the resource burst as a triggering mechanism in developing countries. The study further informs development of a model for successful business acceleration launch and subsequent performance for developing economies."

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"We document the presence of multiple and varied constraints to small and medium firm growth. This presents both a practical problem for business training programs and a challenge to academic economists trying to identify mechanisms through which these programs may affect outcomes. External validity needs theory. This pushes researchers to narrowly defined and highly selected sample frames, which limits the potential for clear, generalizable policy prescriptions. Ultimately, larger samples, multi-arm evaluations, process documentation, and narrowly-focused, theory-supported empirical work are all needed, but the complexity of the problem limits what we learn from any single study."

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