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Business Training

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"Aid agencies and governments spend more than a billion US$ on entrepreneurship training annually. What have we learned about the effectiveness of training? We review research on entrepreneurship training. Classroom-based training remains the most popular method of training owners and managers of small firms. A meta-analysis shows that the standard training model has modestly positive effects, on average, though the effects imply reasonably high returns on investments in training, given low costs per participant. Innovation on this basic training model has increased in recent years, particularly with regard to content. Both personal initiative and rule-of-thumb training show promise for subsistencelevel enterprises. Individual consulting has shown significant positive effects for larger enterprises, but the model is expensive and markets for consulting do not appear to work well. Selection is important, particularly in matching the type of training with the type of enterprise. There are several seemingly promising approaches to training where definitive evidence is lacking. For example, Kaizen approaches and Incubators and accelerators both appear to have positive effects, though the evidence is limited and, in the case of accelerators, it is unclear as yet whether the effects come primarily from selection or from the content of the programmes themselves."

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"Building on Youth Business International's policy recommendations to date, this report compiles a series of case studies that each illustrate how the finance gap can be closed for young and other underserved entrepreneurs through providing non-financial support, such as training and mentoring. This integrated approach reduces the risk of lending to youth and other underserved demographics, and the value of the non-financial support substitutes for collateral and other types of guarantee."

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"We evaluate a technology entrepreneurship training program by comparing career decisions among applicants accepted into the program with unaccepted applicants who are program finalists. We find that program participation is associated with an increased likelihood of subsequent entrepreneurship but that this is not uniform across participants; the estimated relationship between program participation and subsequent entrepreneurial activity is disproportionately lower for applicants with ex-ante resources and capabilities in entrepreneurship, measured by prior entrepreneurship experience. Moreover, we only observe this reduced impact of the program on subsequent entrepreneurial activity for participants that have prior experience in founding a technology company as opposed to other forms of entrepreneurial activity. This suggests the program is more effective for individuals that have otherwise limited access to technology entrepreneurship opportunities."

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"Using survey data on Macedonian firms that participated in USAID programs providing technical and financial assistance for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and on firms that did not, we estimate the effectiveness of such assistance in increasing the growth of employment in the assisted firms. We control for selection bias in program participation and use both kernel and caliper propensity score matching to estimate the excess growth of employment in assisted firms. We find that assistance programs raised employment growth by 16-20 percentage points in the first year after assistance and by 26-30 points by the third year."

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"The review aims primarily to synthesize the evidence on the effects of vocational and business training programmes that aim to improve women's labour market outcomes. It also seeks to improve understanding of the barriers to and facilitators of vocational and business training effectiveness for women. This systematic review by Chinen and colleagues examined the effects on employment, income, sales, and profits. They find that vocational and business training, on average, leads to minor improvements in women's economic well-being. Differences in the programmes' effectiveness suggest that having a gender focus leads to larger impacts on women. The authors conclude that skill-building programmes may be effective when carefully designed with local gender norms in mind."

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"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."

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"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."

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"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."

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"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."

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"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."

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