"In recent years, there has been growing interest and funding dedicated to technical assistance (TA) designed to strengthen the commercial and development impact of businesses in developing markets. However, relatively little is known about the nature and effectiveness of these initiatives. To help address that knowledge gap, this paper focuses on efforts by development finance institutions (DFIs) to provide technical assistance to agribusinesses, which—while comprising only a small share of overall DFI investment portfolios—receive 30% of all TA."
"What keeps social entrepreneurs in developing countries from growing their ventures? Around the world social entrepreneurs are creating innovative businesses that reduce poverty and improve the lives of their customers. These pioneers often encounter many hurdles along the way that make growing a social business a significant challenge. With insights from more than 120 interviews with early-stage social entrepreneurs in developing countries, we explore the common financial and non-financial obstacles they face. The survey showed that access to financing is still a major issue for most of the entrepreneurs: loans are expensive, require significant personal collateral and traditional financing providers don’t take the social mission of the business into account. Besides access to capital, especially in the missing middle, social entrepreneurs also have challenges finding new customers for their products and services, managing their operations and technical excellence, as well as recruiting and retaining high quality staff. Based on our findings we distilled specific conclusions and recommendations for entrepreneurs, investors and intermediaries."
"This Roadmap for the Small and Growing Business (SGB) Sector outlines the expected transformations in the sector over the next ten years, and the challenges and opportunities inherent to such change. It includes a set of 13 recommendations that, if adopted, can help sector support organizations focus resources, initiate momentum-building, "catalytic" actions, and mitigate inherent challenges from both within and outside the sector."
"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."
"Over the past 15 years, accelerators emerged as a popular and distinct new form of intermediary organization, playing a key role in supporting entrepreneurial and innovation activities. To date, despite significant growth in accelerators research, there is still little understanding of how different forms of accelerators operate, and what outcomes they produce across different contexts. This paper reviews the existing scholarly research on accelerators using the Context-Intervention-Mechanism-Outcome framework and is based on the analysis of 98 research papers on accelerators published in the last 15 years. The analysis identifies four mechanisms which explain how accelerators operate and the role they play in supporting entrepreneurship and innovation: the validation of ideas and products; the provision of product development and models learning; the provision of support to increase startups' market access and growth; and the provision of support for innovation. The paper identifies the methodological and theoretical gaps in current research and provides avenues to support future research and industry practice."
"Accelerators are a type of incubation program that are concerned with attracting, supporting and developing new ventures. Although there is significant enthusiasm for accelerators and their potential benefits, there is limited research on how their core capabilities can vary. In response, we develop a typology of accelerator capabilities taking into account their strategy, governance, business model, operations and finance. To develop the typology we carried out a benchmark analysis of six clean energy commercialization accelerators (CECAs). From this we verified and illustrated the dimensions of our typology and identified four types of accelerator capabilities: R&D focused, technology enabled, market enabled, and network enabled. We then use a seventh accelerator case to illustrate how our typology can be used to describe, understand and prescribe appropriate capabilities for a CECA. We conclude our paper by explaining the research and practice implications of our research."
"A youth-oriented approach involves asking practical questions to develop tailored services for youth in the agribusiness sector. 2SCALE has been experimenting with various options to support young producers and entrepreneurs. Making agriculture interesting to youth requires making it attractive and remunerative by having access to land, finance and technologies in order to modernize. Besides production another alternative for youth inclusion was explored: specialized service delivery to value chain actors. This paper provides examples of how 2SCALE tackled youth inclusion in its partnerships."
"This case study reviewed social enterprises operating in the agriculture and health sectors in Kenya by conducting a desk-based literature review, interviews and a workshop with social enterprises and support organisations in Nairobi, which is currently seen as a hub of social enterprise activity in Africa. The case study considers how the lack of a widely-accepted social enterprise definition influences activity in Kenya, identifies niches within which agriculture and health sector social enterprises are operating and summarises some key findings from discussions with key informants."
"The Office of Evaluation and Oversight (OVE) of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB, or the Bank) conducted an impact evaluation to assess the effectiveness of the main types of programs through which IDB has supported small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Latin America and the Caribbean. It does not evaluate Bank projects directly or compare executing agencies, models of interventions or financial instruments, but rather examines the effectiveness of Bank-supported approaches implemented by Brazilian institutions. Focusing only on the manufacturing sector, the evaluation examines how these interventions affect firm-level outcomes such as employment, real wages, exports, and patent and trademark registration. The overarching objective of this exercise is to provide insight for future strategic decisions regarding the targeting of Bank support to SMEs."
"SPF and Dalberg Advisors have collaborated to complete a research report using country level data and expert interviews to understand the critical gender gaps and entrepreneurial solutions to advance the lives of women in Southeast Asia. The study outlines a framework that captures economic empowerment, personal safety and mobility, formal representation, education, health, time and decision-making as seven mutually reinforcing dimensions that are critical to women’s empowerment in Southeast Asia."