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Science. 2017 Sep 22;357(6357):1287-1290. doi: 10.1126/science.aan5329.

Teaching personal initiative beats traditional training in boosting small business in West Africa.

Author information

1
The World Bank, Washington, DC 20433, USA.
2
National University of Singapore, Singapore.
3
Leuphana University of L√ľneburg, L√ľneburg, Germany.
4
The World Bank, Washington, DC 20433, USA. dmckenzie@worldbank.org.

Abstract

Standard business training programs aim to boost the incomes of the millions of self-employed business owners in developing countries by teaching basic financial and marketing practices, yet the impacts of such programs are mixed. We tested whether a psychology-based personal initiative training approach, which teaches a proactive mindset and focuses on entrepreneurial behaviors, could have more success. A randomized controlled trial in Togo assigned microenterprise owners to a control group (n = 500), a leading business training program (n = 500), or a personal initiative training program (n = 500). Four follow-up surveys tracked outcomes for firms over 2 years and showed that personal initiative training increased firm profits by 30%, compared with a statistically insignificant 11% for traditional training. The training is cost-effective, paying for itself within 1 year.

PMID:
28935805
DOI:
10.1126/science.aan5329
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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