Theme
Capacity Development

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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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"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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"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 attempts to assess the impacts of a management training program on the business performance of small enterprises in a metalworking cluster in Nairobi, Kenya. Based on the observed differences in management between successful and less successful enterprises, we designed a management training program featuring the basics of KAIZEN, an inexpensive, commonsense approach to management emphasizing the reduction of wasted work and materials, for the less successful enterprises.

This paper finds that business owners operating smaller enterprises tended to be self-selected into training participation. The training effects combined with the self-selection effect, which we estimate with panel data, were statistically significant and particularly stronger on profits than on sales revenues, while other training programs that did not teach KAIZEN had positive effects on sales revenues, not profits. As a result, the participants caught up with and overtook the non-participants in terms of average sales revenues and average profits, respectively."

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"Standard business training programs aim to boost the incomes of the millions of self-employed business owners in developing countries by teaching basic financial and marketing practices, yet the impacts of such programs are mixed. We tested whether a psychology-based personal initiative training approach, which teaches a proactive mindset and focuses on entrepreneurial behaviors, could have more success. A randomized controlled trial in Togo assigned microenterprise owners to a control group (n = 500), a leading business training program (n = 500), or a personal initiative training program (n = 500). Four follow-up surveys tracked outcomes for firms over 2 years and showed that personal initiative training increased firm profits by 30%, compared with a statistically insignificant 11% for traditional training. The training is cost-effective, paying for itself within 1 year."

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"The purpose of this study is to explore how do the characteristics of technology business incubators (TBIs), their chief executive officers, selection process and incubation process influence their research and development (R&D) contributions to the national economy.

These research questions are probed based on primary data gathered from 65 TBIs located in Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad, 3 of the leading start-up hubs of India comprising 9 accelerators, 31 incubators and 25 co-working spaces. Stepwise (backward elimination) regression method has been applied for six regression models for the analysis of research objectives."

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"As part of its Agribusiness Innovation Program (AIP), infoDev designed an agribusiness incubation training program. To-date, the Agribusiness Incubation Training has been provided to a total of 149 people from 25 countries, including countries from Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America. This report analyzes the effects of the delivery of this training. The agribusiness incubation training sessions took place as a one-day-training1 in the context of seven different events."

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