Theme
Capacity Development

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"Business incubators (BI) have been established worldwide as tools for company creation and small businesses support. BIs claim to help their tenants by providing them with the optimal conditions for increasing early stage survival and long-term performance. Practitioners and researchers agree that business support is a crucial feature of incubating businesses. Yet this is seldom researched. In this study we theoretically relate business support to help in solving problems and further investigate to what extent business incubators support their tenants overcome their developmental problems. Results show that tenants do not experience many problems and when they do business support is not necessarily sought. Furthermore, our data suggests that business support is not preferentially sought within incubator environments. When this happens, support provided by the BI does not contribute to problem solving. Finally, we discuss the impact of the type of BI on helping their tenants."

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"A large share of the poor in developing countries run small enterprises, often earning low incomes. This paper explores whether the poor performance of businesses can be explained by a lack of basic business skills. We randomized the offer of a free, 48-hour business skills course to female entrepreneurs in rural Mexico. We find that those assigned to treatment earn higher profits, have larger revenues, serve a greater number of clients, are more likely to use formal accounting techniques, and more likely to be registered with the government. Indirect treatment effects on those entrepreneurs randomized out of the program, yet living in treatment villages, are economically meaningful, yet imprecisely measured. We present a simple model of experience and learning that helps interpret our results, and consistent with the theoretical predictions, we find that "low-quality" entrepreneurs are the most likely to quit their business post-treatment, and that the positive impacts of the treatment are increasing in entrepreneurial quality."

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"Business support interventions in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) direct a large amount of resources to SMEs, with the assumption that institutional constraints impede small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from generating profits and employment at the firm level, which in turn is thought to impede economic growth and poverty reduction. Yet despite this abundance of resources, very little is known about the impact of such interventions. To address this gap, this systematic review analyses evaluations of SME support services in LMICs to help inform policy debates pertaining to SMEs and business support services. This review examines the available evidence on the effects of SME support services in LMICs on firm-level performance indicators (such as revenues, profits, and productivity), employment generation, and labour productivity."

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"According to our findings, the number of accelerators serving impact enterpriseshas grown rapidly over the last five years (over 70 percent of the accelerators surveyed were founded in 2008 or later). Despite this strong growth, there is only lim-ited research and data-driven analysis of accelerators’ role in the impact invesment ecosystem. This report aims to generate a greater understanding of accelera-tors in that sector and is part of a broader strategy to analyze, evaluate, benchmark,and strengthen accelerators. It is not intended to be a comprehensive evaluation ofimpact accelerators but an initial assessment of the landscape of these organizations."

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"In this paper, we propose an overarching incubator model that synthesizes elements and best practices emanating from the five archetypes empirically identified and also incorporates substantially higher economies of scale and scope, as well as global and local (gloCal) knowledge arbitrage potential. This paper presents an architectural blueprint for designing a gloCal, real and virtual network of incubators (G-RVIN) as a knowledge and innovation infra-structure and infra-technology which would link entrepreneurs and micro-entrepreneurs with local, regional, and global networks of customers, suppliers and complementors and thus help not only bridge, but also leverage, the diverse divides (digital, knowledge, cultural, socio-political, etc.)."

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"Impact-oriented accelerators, a relatively new type of entrepreneur support program, are proliferating as practitioners, philanthropic funders, and investors work to unlock the full potential of entrepreneurship-led economic development. These accelerators aspire to support entrepreneurs, in large part by driving investment into promising ventures that work in marginalized sectors and regions around the world. Given the opportunity costs of the human, organizational, and financial resources required to run accelerators, it is important to determine whether they are having this intended impact. To assess the effect of acceleration on outside equity investment, we analyze application and follow-up data from a matched sample of 1647 entrepreneurs who applied to 77 impact-oriented accelerators. Our main finding is promising. In the first follow-up year, accelerator program participants attract significantly more outside equity than their rejected counterparts. Further analysis suggests that this positive equity bump is not due to cherry picking obviously promising ventures during selection processes. Moreover, the effect is tied to the number of accelerated months in the follow-up year. Despite these promising observations, we find that the equity investment effect does not extend to ventures working in emerging markets, or to those with women on their founding teams. Thus, the benefits of accelerators for entrepreneurship-led development are not yet reaching the places and people that have the hardest time attracting capital on their own. We conclude the paper by outlining the challenges associated with extending the positive effects of acceleration into entrepreneurial domains that are most challenging from an economic development perspective."

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"Theories of market failures and targeting motivate the promotion of entrepreneurship training programs and generate testable predictions regarding heterogeneous treatment effects from such programs. Using a large randomized evaluation in the United States, we find no strong or lasting effects on those most likely to face credit or human capital constraints, or labor market discrimination. We do find a short-run effect on business ownership for those unemployed at baseline, but this dissipates at longer horizons. Treatment effects on the full sample are also short-term and limited in scope: we do not find effects on business sales, earnings, or employees."

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"In an effort to offer greater insight into the practice and utility of capacity building support, this report explores common forms of capacity-building support used by impact investors, many of which resemble forms of nonfinancial support historically leveraged by conventional investors. While both impact and conventional investors use capacity-building support to strengthen the underlying businesses of investee companies, impact investors also use it to enhance and extend their impact. This report outlines various needs that impact investors address through capacity-building support, the ways they structure and deliver such support, and funding strategies used for deploying such support."

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"Investors and capacity development organizations have an opportunity to support women-led small and growing businesses, but they lack information. The purpose of this collaborative research project is to provide information to capacity developers and investors who want to better understand and address the barriers to growth for women-led small and growing businesses (WSGBs)."

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"The Incubator for Agribusiness and Agroindustry at Bogor Agricultural University, Indonesia (IAA-IPB) assists during three stages in the incubation process:early incubation (mentoring creative ideas, assisting in evaluation of market prospects, defining and outsourcing technology needs);incubation (helping production begin); and post-graduation (consulting on business plan revision and facilitating access to financial resources and a market network for new products and new technology implementation).

The utmost attention must be paid to incubatees during both the selection process and the incubation period, in order to ensure that they grow and are successful. Their success is the success of the incubator itself. One-to-one interaction with the incubatees is necessary to understand their problems and special needs and to help them find solutions. In addition, incubators are advised to maintain relations with successful graduates. They will continue to need assistance, they will be able to assist the incubator by being role models to new incubatees, and they represent a potential source of income for the incubator through profit sharing or equity investment."

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