Entrepreneurship and firm growth are important engines of inclusive economic growth and social development, providing jobs, goods and services, and the possibility to help people escape poverty. The private sector is also crucial in the transition to more sustainable patterns of economic development, both in terms of aggregate environmental impacts and potential role in supplying green goods and services.

In LMICs, however, entrepreneurship and firm growth are often limited by barriers in access to finance and markets, low levels of human capital and managerial skills, and limited innovation and technology adoption. These barriers are especially pervasive for MSMEs, though they can affect the private sector more broadly.

In an effort to unlock the potential of the private sector, governments, nonprofits, and development finance institutions spend billions of dollars every year on programs aimed at reducing barriers to growth. However, there is still a pressing need to identify what works and how to implement effective solutions to steer investments to the areas where they will have the greatest impact. The Entrepreneurship and Private Sector Development Program at Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) collaborates with researchers, practitioners and policymakers to create and share rigorous evidence that can help inform decision-making in the sector. With a portfolio of nearly 200 research projects across 39 countries, the Program has been a key contributor to “what we know” in this sector, and an important voice in the dissemination of these lessons to the wide audience of policymakers and practitioners around the world. MORE »