"Business training programs are a popular policy option to improve the performance of enterprises around the world, and the number of rigorous impact evaluations of these programs is growing. A critical review reveals that many evaluations suffer from small sample sizes, measure impacts only within a year of training, and experience problems with survey attrition and measurement that limit the conclusions one can draw. Over these short time horizons, there are relatively modest effects of training on the survivorship of existing firms. However, there is stronger evidence that training programs help prospective owners launch new businesses more quickly. Most studies find that existing firm owners implement some of the practices taught in training, but the magnitudes of the improvement to practices is often modest. Few studies find significant impacts on profits or sales, although some studies with greater statistical power have done so. There is little evidence to guide policymakers regarding whether any identified effects are due to trained firms drawing sales from competing businesses rather than through productivity improvements or to guide the development of the provision of training at market prices. We conclude by summarizing some directions and key questions for future studies."
"While management styles and practices have been found to be important determinants of firm performance, there is far less evidence on the extent to which management matters for entrepreneurial ventures and whether founders can learn to be more effective managers. Using a randomized field experiment with 100 high-growth technology firms, we show that founders who received advice from other founders with more "hands-on" management styles were more likely to reorient their own management activity, and subsequently experience lower employee attrition and higher rates of firm survival eight months after the intervention. For founders who already had a more hands-on management style themselves, these interactions also increased their rate of hiring. Our study demonstrates management skill can be learned by young firms via networks and subsequently influence performance."
"The study was set in rural markets in Kenya with the objective of testing how the GET Ahead programme affects the profitability, growth and survival of female-owned businesses, and to evaluate whether any gains in profitability come at the expense of other business owners. A year-and-a-half after the training had taken place, a mentoring intervention was randomly assigned among trained women to test whether additional group-based and in-person support strengthens the impacts of training on intended outcomes."
"In a webinar on February 20, 2020, Tim Ogden, Managing Director of the Financial Access Initiative at NYU shared the latest insights on SME business training programs, with guest speaker David McKenzie, Lead Economist in the Development Research Group, Finance and Private Sector Development Unit at the World Bank. Tim and David discussed what we know about small business performance and productivity, the importance of management, and training impact evaluations--all essential for innovating SME training programs."
"This report is primarily written for business and its role in supporting education and the SDGs. It is also meant to support the education community and other organisations with a stake in advancing education and training for sustainable development. The report shares a selection of good practice examples and insights that are intended to help raise awareness, spark new ideas and inspire more opportunities for collaboration."
"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."
"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."
"A randomized control trial with 432 small and medium enterprises in Mexico shows positive impact of access to 1 year of management consulting services on total factor productivity and return on assets. Owners also had an increase in "entrepreneurial spirit" (an index that measures entrepreneurial confidence and goal setting). Using Mexican social security data, we find a persistent large increase (about 50 percent) in the number of employees and total wage bill even 5 years after the program. We document large heterogeneity in the specific managerial practices that improved as a result of the consulting, with the most prominent being marketing, financial accounting, and long-term business planning."
"We investigate the relationship between employees' and managers' training and firm performance using a policy intervention that randomly assigned training support to small- and medium-sized enterprises in the UK accommodation and food service sector. Because the number of firms self-selected into training exceeded available places, training was randomly assigned to some firms, resulting in a randomized natural experimental design that allowed us to identify the average effect of training on treated firms. Our empirical results suggest that employees' training had a stronger positive impact on firms' labour productivity and profitability than that of managers'."
"This paper uses a randomized controlled experiment in Costa Rica to determine whether IB use by Banco Nacional de Desarrollo's micro and small enterprise (MSE) clients has an impact on their performance, measured in terms of productivity, increase in sales, and cost reduction. Results from the intervention group surveys indicate that Internet use is limited in MSEs' daily operations because of limited access to computers and the relatively low penetration of Internet services in employees' activities. In addition, firms have limited knowledge about the uses of the Internet as a business development tool. These results contrast with the reported benefits obtained by a small group of firms. Those benefits include reduced costs, higher sales, and better contact with customers."