Micro-loans are a promising means of promoting entrepreneurship[1], but conventional loan products are often unsuited to the needs of small businesses in developing countries. Offering microenterprise borrowers the ability to postpone loan payments when needed may encourage long-term investments in business expansion and help owners cope with financial hardship.

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Numerous governments in low- and middle-income countries, such as Brazil and Mexico, have adopted conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs as a social safety net, but most recipients of these transfers have little or no experience with formal financial products.

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Police forces in cities tend to focus their efforts on the highest-crime areas, but increasing state presence in the highest crime spots may simply displace crime to other areas, leaving overall crime levels unchanged. In Bogotá, Colombia, researchers partnered with the city to measure the impact of either concentrated policing, increased municipal clean-ups, or both on crime reduction and displacement.

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Peru Bank Photo Credit Dario Rodriguez

Financial products have the potential to help the poor, yet most financial institutions are driven by commercial goals, and their staff may not be incentivized to offer products most suitable to low-income clients. This audit study aims to determine the types of information institutions provide to low-income financial customers in urban Colombia, and identify any differences in institutions’ treatment of customers based on perceived financial knowledge.

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Differences in management quality are an important contributor to productivity differences across countries. A key question is how best to improve poor management in developing countries. This evaluation tested two different approaches aimed at improving management in Colombian auto parts firms. The first was an intensive and expensive one-on-one consulting, while the second provided consulting to small groups of firms at approximately one-third of the cost of the individual approach.

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Small and medium enterprises in developing countries generally face a number of barriers to expanding their businesses and employing more workers, including limited access to credit and other financial services.

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Microcredit banks may be able to operate more efficiently if their loan officers spread their workload evenly over time, resulting in a more stable cash flow for the bank—but loan officers, like many people, have a tendency to procrastinate. This evaluation in Colombia found that introduction of short term goals, positive reminders and incentives led to a significant change in the way loan officers allocated their time and improved performance.

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Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are thought to be important drivers of growth in developing economies, but entrepreneurs in these countries face many barriers, including poor access to training, finance, and business networks. In Colombia, Fundación Bavaria’s “Destapa Futuro” (Open the Future) program identifies promising enterprises and provides them with a suite of financial, technical, business, and training resources.

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Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are thought to be important drivers of growth in developing economies, but entrepreneurs in these countries face many barriers, including access to business training, finance, and business networks. In Bogotá, Colombia, Fundación Bavaria’s “Destapa Futuro” (Open the Future) program identifies promising enterprises and provides them with a suite of financial, technical, business and training resources.

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Conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs have been proven effective at improving educational attainment in some settings, but there has been little rigorous evaluation of CCT product design. Researchers in Bogotá, Colombia, evaluated whether changing the timing and type of CCTs could lead to greater impact on educational attainment.

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Can online sexual health education courses improve students’ sexual health knowledge, attitudes, and behavior? Do such courses also have positive effects on the peers of students who take the course? Researchers evaluated the impact of an online sexual health education course on the knowledge and sexual behavior of urban Colombian high school students. The education program led to significant impacts on knowledge and attitudes.

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Small and medium enterprises are seen as promising engines of growth in developing countries but often fail to live up to their potential because of barriers to growth such as limited access to credit. Researchers used a randomized evaluation to measure the impact of introducing computer-generated credit scores on lending to micro and small enterprises in Colombia.

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Many subsistence entrepreneurs in developing countries do not maintain adequate business records which may limit their ability to streamline business operations and increase profits. This exploratory study was designed to explore take up and role of a new mobile application in helping small shopkeepers in Colombia to keep records, create business reports and manage other business tasks.

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