"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 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."
"This paper examines the impact of improvements in marketing skills relative to finance skills among small-scale entrepreneurs. It addresses three important questions: (1) What is the impact of marketing or finance skills on business profits? (2) How do improvements in marketing and finance skills respectively affect different business outcomes? (3) When are increases in marketing relative to finance skills more beneficial? Through a randomized control study of 852 firms in South Africa, the analysis finds significant improvements in profitability from both types of business skills training. However, the pathways to achieve these gains differ substantially between the two groups. 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 businesses run by entrepreneurs with ex ante less exposure to different market contexts. In contrast and in line with an efficiency focus, it is the more established businesses that benefit significantly more from finance/accounting skills."
"This paper presents the preliminary results of our ongoing study of corrective policy intervention in cluster-based industrial development. At the center of this study is a field experiment that we are conducting in a knitwear cluster in Ha Noi (previously Ha Tay) and a rolled steal cluster in Bac Ninh in Vietnam. In these clusters, we conducted baseline surveys of firms from April to July 2010 and then provided classroom training programs for entrepreneurs in June to August of the same year. The evaluation of the training impacts is expected to reveal whether entrepreneurs in clusters possess basic knowledge of management before the training, what characterizes the entrepreneurs who are more willing and able to absorb new knowledge, whether the training can change entrepreneurs' attitudes toward learning management knowledge, how much entrepreneurs can learn from a short-period training program, and whether the benefit of the training program exceeds its cost, among others."
"We mailed brochures to 10,000 randomly chosen employed German workers eligible for a subsidized occupational training program called WeGebAU, informing them about the importance of skill-upgrading occupational training in general and about WeGebAU in particular. Using survey and register data, we estimate effects of the information treatment brochure on awareness of the program, on take-up of WeGebAU and other training, and on subsequent employment. The brochure more than doubles awareness of the program. There are no effects on WeGebAU take-up but participation in other (unsubsidized) training increases among employees aged below 45. Short-term labor market outcomes are not affected."
"We seek to show how evidence-based teaching for management affects the success of firms by way of changing managers’ actions. We conducted a randomized controlled field intervention with a sample of 100 small business owners in Kampala, Uganda. The intervention increased personal initiative behavior and entrepreneurial success over a 12-month period after the intervention. An increase in personal initiative behavior was responsible for the increase of entrepreneurial success (full mediation). Thus, the training led to an entrepreneurial mind-set and to an active approach toward entrepreneurial tasks. This particular management training was successful at improving knowledge and intangible skills that translated into successful organisational medium- to long-run outcomes for small businesses."
"The purpose of the paper is to find the relationship between education and training and performance of women entrepreneurs (WEs). The present study found that entrepreneurial education stimulates women to take up entrepreneurship as a career option."
"Differences in management quality are an important contributor to productivity differences across countries. A key question is how to best improve poor management in developing countries. This paper tests two different approaches to improving management in Colombian auto parts firms. The first uses intensive and expensive one-on-one consulting, while the second draws on agricultural extension approaches to provide consulting to small groups of firms at approximately one-third of the cost of the individual approach. Both approaches lead to improvements in management practices of a similar magnitude (8-10 percentage points), so that the new group-based approach dominates on a cost-benefit basis. Moreover, the paper finds some evidence that the group-based intervention led to increases in firm size over the next three years, while the impacts on firm outcomes are smaller and statistically insignificant for the individual consulting. The results point to the potential of group-based approaches as a pathway to scaling up management improvements."
"This publication aims to provide insights into the why, how, and what of inclusive business to inspire companies that want to develop their own inclusive business model, and civil society and public partners facilitating include business in Africa. Hereto, the publication shares knowledge from both theory and practice and delves deeply into three inclusive business cases from East Africa: financial inclusion through mobile banking service M-Pesa in Kenya; Community Life Centres for inclusive healthcare in Kenya; and inclusive agribusiness and food security in Ethiopia. In addition, the publication presents insights from research on 2SCALE, an incubator programme that manages a portfolio of public-private partnerships. (PPPs) for inclusive business in agri-food sectors."
"This study evaluates the impact of business-development-support programs (credit, training, and a combination of both) on the performance of micro- and small enterprises (MSEs) in Ethiopia. Using 2015 Ethiopian urban survey data and employing endogenous-switching regressions for multiple treatments, we document a positive and significant effect of credit, training, and a combination of training and credit on MSEs. Our results highlight the heterogeneity in treatment effects between women- and men-owned MSEs: women-owned businesses do not benefit from access to treatments. Our results suggest that improving the performance of MSEs requires fine-tuned interventions that meet the specific needs of men and women who own small businesses rather than one-size-fits-all programs."