"Despite the popularity of business training among policy makers, the use of business training has faced increasing skepticism. This is, in part, fueled by the fact that most of the first wave of randomized experiments in developing countries could not detect statistically significant impacts of training on firms' profits or sales. This paper revisits and reassesses the evidence for whether small business training works, incorporating the results of more recent studies. A meta-analysis of these estimates suggests that training increases profits and sales on average by 5 to 10 percent. The author argues that this is in line with what is optimistic to expect given the relatively short length of most training programs, and the expected return on investment from the cost of such training. However, impacts of this magnitude are too small for most experiments to detect statistically. Emerging evidence is provided on five approaches for improving the effectiveness of traditional training by incorporating gender, kaizen methods, localization and mentoring, heuristics, and psychology. Training programs that incorporate these elements appear to deliver improvements over traditional training programs on average, although with considerable variation. Given that training delivers some benefits for firms, the challenge is then how to deliver a quality program on a cost-effective basis at a much larger scale. Three possible approaches to scaling up training are discussed: using the market, using technology, or targeting and funneling firms."
"Humanitarian aid is insufficient to support the unprecedented numbers of fellow human beings who are struggling as refugees, migrants, or modern-day slaves. In this Social Entrepreneurship at the Margins report, Miller Center illustrates the clear and urgent need for bottom-up, enterprise level approaches, and highlights organizations that are already addressing the needs of these groups in innovative ways. This report highlights the efforts of Refugee Investment Network (RIN) and other innovators to bridge these gaps and invites other stakeholders to collaboratively build sustainable solutions for the growing global challenges facing refugees, migrants, and human trafficking survivors."
"How do different sources of social influence impact the likelihood of entrepreneurship? We examine this question in the setting of an entrepreneurship class in which students were randomly assigned to receive mentorship from either an entrepreneur or a non-entrepreneur. Using a longitudinal field experiment with a pre-test/post-test design, we find that randomization to an entrepreneur mentor increases the likelihood of entrepreneurial careers, particularly for students whose parents were not entrepreneurs. Additional analysis shows the mentor influences the decision to join an early-stage venture, but not to become a founder. Performance data suggests that entrepreneurial influence is not encouraging "worse" entrepreneurship and may have helped students in joining or founding better-performing ventures. We contribute to the literature on social influence in entrepreneurship by examining the interaction between multiple sources of social influence and by using a randomized field experiment to overcome the endogenous process of tie formation."
"Identifying the determinants of entrepreneurship is an important research and policy goal, especially in emerging market economies where lack of capital and supporting infrastructure often imposes stringent constraints on business growth. This paper studies the impact of a comprehensive business and financial literacy program on firm outcomes of young entrepreneurs in an emerging post-conflict economy, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The authors conduct a randomized control trial and find that while the training program did not influence business survival, it significantly improved business practices, investments, and loan terms for surviving businesses. Entrepreneurs with higher ex-ante financial literacy further exhibited some improvements in business performance and sales."
"The purpose of this paper is to examine how entrepreneurial orientation (EO) and the use of management accounting practices (MAPs) in decision making affects the profitability of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and also to analyze the extent to which EO and the use of MAPs affects profitability differently in growing and non-growing SMEs.
EO and MAPs have a positive effect on profitability in non-growing SMEs, but the combined effect of EO and MAPs has no additional effect. However, for growing SMEs, high usage of MAPs in decision making is a prerequisite for EO to influence profitability. This study is the first to use the resource-based view to examine the relationship between two dimensions of resource organization and SME profitability. EO is used as a proxy for how resources are organized in order to identify opportunities, and MAPs are used as a proxy for how efficiently resources are organized."
"We analysed the growth impact delivered by a high-growth entrepreneurship policy initiative over a six-year period. Using an eight-year panel that started two years before the initiative was launched and propensity score matching to control selection bias, we found that the initiative had more than doubled the growth rates of treated firms. The initiative had delivered a strong impact also on value-for-money basis. In addition to producing the first robust evidence on the growth impact delivered by a high-growth entrepreneurship initiative, we contribute to public sponsorship theory with the notion of capacity-boosting activities to complement previously discussed buffering and bridging activities."
"Small businesses are often believed to serve as engines for innovation, employment and social mobility, due to their flexibility in responding to new opportunities and their potential for rapid growth. In developing countries, SMEs make up a particularly large part of the economy, yet data suggests that very few small enterprises in developing countries grow into larger businesses. Researchers conducted a qualitative study of a consulting program in the Philippines designed to help SMEs expand, investigating the obstacles that consultants identified as constraints to firm growth. They found that there is no "one-size-fits-all" approach to business training - most firms have a complex, interconnected set of challenges."
"This article addresses the specific role of programs that attempt to help social ventures scale. We utilize combined experience in the Momentum Project from ESADE Business School and the Global Social Benefit Incubator at Santa Clara University, as well as an exploratory study of 40 social incubator and accelerator programs around the world, to frame the issues. We make a comparison among different programs and classify them as social incubators and social accelerators according to targeted social ventures and portfolio of resources offered. We note opportunities for research on social entrepreneurship and discuss relevant issues for both academics and practitioners such as the structure of these programs, the variance of approaches, and the resources needed by social ventures in their scaling processes."
"Given the mixed evidence for the impact of various publicly funded initiatives that aim to foster entrepreneurial activity, this paper empirically examines the efficacy of publicly funded business advisory services in relation to entrepreneurial outcomes. Based on a sample of 228 early-stage firms, of which 101 used business advisory services focused on helping companies secure 1st rounds of financing and start generating revenues, we examine the firm-level impact such services can have on sales growth, innovation, finance and alliances. We find services are positively associated with firms' sales growth, patents, finance and alliances. We assess statistical and economic significance, and assess robustness to controls for the non-randomness of the firm's using business advisory service program, as well as endogeneity of advisors' hours spent with firms. Other robustness checks are also included. We find significant robustness of hours spent on sales and finance, but sensitivity of the effect of hours on patents and alliances after controlling for endogeneity."
"This paper identifies separate and unique pathways to profits among small businesses in South Africa that are exposed to marketing or finance training in a randomized control study. The marketing group achieves greater profits by adopting a growth focus on higher sales, greater investments in stock and materials, and hiring more employees. The finance group achieves similar profit gains but through an efficiency focus on lower costs. Both groups show significantly higher adoption of business practices related to their respective training program. Consistent with a growth focus, marketing/sales skills are significantly more beneficial to firm owners who ex ante have less exposure to different business contexts. In contrast and in line with an efficiency focus, entrepreneurs who have been running more established businesses prior to training benefit significantly more from finance/accounting skills."