Region
Latin America & Caribbean

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"In September 2020, the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) published a study titled “Impact Investing in Latin America”, which examines trends in the region during 2018 - 2019. Below is a spotlight on Central America, which uses data from the full report to highlight key trends in Central American countries during this two year period."

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"The Impact Investment Landscape in Brazil is a follow-up to the study launched by the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) and the Association for Private Capital Investment in Latin America (LAVCA) in October 2018. This national report is based on a sub-sample of the 67 survey respondents from the Latin America study, of which 29 are active in Brazil and 22 invested in the country during the period 2016-2017. Most of them identify themselves as impact investors or managers of private equity or venture capital funds. The report provides data on the profile of the active investors, investment activity for 2016-2017 and expectations for investment in Brazil in 2018-2019."

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"Why is high-growth entrepreneurship scarce in developing countries? Does this scarcity reflect firm capabilities constraints? We explore these questions using as a laboratory an accelerator in Colombia that selects participants using scores from randomly assigned judges and offers them training, advice, and visibility but no cash. Exploiting exogenous differences in judges' scoring generosity, we show that alleviating constraints to firm capabilities unlocks innovative entrepreneurs' potential but does not transform subpar ideas into high-growth firms. The results demonstrate that some high-potential entrepreneurs in developing economies face firm capabilities constraints and accelerators can help identify these entrepreneurs and boost their growth."

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"After hearing of the success of Fundación Chile, the governor of the Mexican state of Jalisco sought to recreate the foundation locally. The result is Fundación Jalisco, which seeks to import successful business models to small farmers in Jalisco. For its first project, the Fundación imported high-yield blueberry plants from the United States, started a nursery, and gave the plants to local farmers who were capable of growing them successfully. The farmers deliver their berry harvest to the foundation, which packages and sells it throughout Mexico and overseas in the United States and the United Kingdom. The venture has been highly profitable for all concerned, and the foundation is now seeking to diversify into value-added products such as olive oil and cheese. The foundation relies on a combination of state funding and private investment."

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"This paper studies the aggregate effects of the existing differences between male and female-run firms in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). Using data from the World Bank Enterprise Survey and the International Labor Organization (ILO), we show that only about one-fourth of the total firms are run by women and that female-run firms are about three times smaller than male-run firms in LAC. We then extend the theoretical framework in Cuberes and Teignier (2016) to account for these facts and quantify their aggregate effects on productivity and income per capita. In our model, men and women are identical in all aspects except for the fact that some women face barriers to becoming entrepreneurs, which may be a function of their talent. The calibration of our model implies that the barriers that some women face to becoming firm managers depend positively on their managerial talent, which results in female-run firms being smaller than those managed by men in equilibrium. In our baseline simulation, we obtain an output per capita loss due to these gender gaps of 9.4 percent, all of which is due to misallocation of resources and the resulting fall in aggregate productivity. This loss is 1.3 times larger than the one obtained in a framework where barriers to entrepreneurship were assumed to be independent of talent."

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"This study is the first piece of detailed research on gender lens investing in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). It adds to other regional analyses of gender lens investing emerging in the last few years in Asia and in Europe (authored by the same team as this report at the ESADE Institute for Social Innovation). The specific objectives of the study are to: describe the opportunity for different gender lens investing strategies in LAC; highlight key case studies and current activities in LAC; and offer top-level recommendations for how different players can put gender lens investing into practice."

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"We estimate the effect on business start-ups of a program that significantly speeds up firm registration procedures. The program was implemented in Mexico in different municipalities at different dates. Our estimates suggest that new start-ups increased by about 5% per month in eligible industries, and we present evidence supporting robustness and a causal effect interpretation. Most of the effect is temporary, concentrated in the first 15 months after implementation. The estimated effect is much smaller than World Bank and Mexican authorities claim it is, which suggests attention in business deregulation may be over emphasized."

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"We estimate the demand for business training among entrepreneurs in Jamaica. We use either a re-framed version of the Becker-DeGroot-Marschak (BDM) mechanism or take-it-or-leave-it (TIOLI) offers to elicit willingness to pay for business training. We find that the majority of entrepreneurs have a positive willingness to pay for training, which suggests some scope for providers to help partially recover the costs of offering training. Our results indicate that charging a higher price for the course screens out a large share of entrepreneurs, in particular those entrepreneurs with fewer assets, who are more risk-averse business owners, and those who do not expect to benefit as much from the training. Providing a credit option does not affect take-up of the course. We find that higher willingness to pay is correlated with higher attendance, and conditionally on paying a positive price, those who are offered higher prices are more likely to attend, pointing to psychological or sunk-cost effects. However, this does not fully compensate for the reduction in participation in training due to the extensive margin effect of charging higher prices. Finally, we find some evidence that business training encourages higher adoption of business practices and improves business knowledge.

Our follow-up survey suffered from high attrition, which limits our ability to detect impacts on sales and profits. We do not see that effects are stronger for entrepreneurs paying higher prices or with higher willingness to pay, but a lack of statistical power also means that we cannot rule out the possibility that those
who pay higher prices do benefit more. We conclude that the optimal price for governments to charge may therefore lie somewhere in between free or nominal cost and market price, and depend on how governments trade-off equity and efficiency."

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"In Mexico, microenterprises and SMEs make up 99 percent of firms, employ about 64 percent of the workforce, and account for more than 40 percent of GDP. Given the importance of SMEs in the economy, governments in Mexico over the past twenty years have established a wide variety of SME support programs. How effective these SME programs have been in achieving their objectives is unclear.

This paper evaluates SME support programs in Mexico using a panel of firm-level data for two groups of firms-a treatment group that participated in SME programs and a control group that did not. The panel data have been created by linking SME program participation information to a large panel of annual industrial surveys (1994-2005) maintained by Mexico's National Institute of Statistics and Geography."

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"Through the efforts of the irene|see network, the researchers have contributed to both theoretical and empirical knowledge around social enterprise and social economic empowerment that is pluralistic in disciplines, as well as methodology. The multidisciplinary studies presented in this volume contribute to the effort to understand the diversity of social enterprise experiences at national and local levels, as well as the way third and private sector enterprises and organizations are embedded in their respective societies. This volume aims to presents some of the findings, results, and recommendations of the researchn conducted through the irene|see network."

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