Media Coverage
November 16, 2015

Peru’s Mundo MyPE, a journal aimed at Peru’s small business sector, interviewed Oriana Ponta, Program Manager of IPA’s Small & Medium Enterprises Program. Oriana discussed IPA and J-PAL’s efforts to share evidence about programs that help small businesses grow, as well as partnerships with Peruvian government agencies to evaluate their small business programs and policies.

Mundo MyPe, un periódico peruano para los empresarios de la micro y pequeña empresa peruana, entrevisó a Oriana Ponta, Gerente de Programa de Pequeña y Mediana Empresa de Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA)....

Media Coverage
November 14, 2015

Cobertura de la Conferencia- Taller Internacional: “Evidencia para el Desarrollo de la Pequeña y Mediana Empresa”

Media Coverage
November 06, 2015

The New York times cites IPA's study in Nigeria on supurring business growth through competitions in connection with a program experimenting with a similar approach in Buffalo, New York.

Media Coverage
November 02, 2015

A rigorous set of studies published in January has helped to more firmly establish microcredit’s limitations. A team of leading microfinance academics from Yale, Dartmouth, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology compared the gains in living standards among borrowers in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ethiopia, India, Mexico, Mongolia, and Morocco with those of non-borrowers, measuring household consumption and income. The researchers concluded that, in all six countries, microcredit’s benefits were moderate, at best, and not transformational.

Media Coverage
October 13, 2015

Quartz has the story on an IPA small and medium enterprise study in Nigeria with David McKenzie of the World Bank. The study, looking at ways to spur business growth and hiring, gave away $50,000 to aspiring and current business owners in a national competition, and was extremely successful at spurring expansion and job creation.

Egypt Carpet
Adam Osman, Amit Khandelwal, David Atkin
July 10, 2015

Editors note: This is a cross-post with NextBillion.

In 2009, Aid to Artisans, a nonprofit organization that works to create market opportunities for artisans around the world, set up a program in Egypt. The goal was to support the growth of small rug-making businesses by giving them the opportunity to export to high-income countries. Working closely with an Egyptian intermediary called Hamis Carpets, Aid to Artisans (ATA) identified small-scale rug-makers and helped them improve productivity to meet the standards of foreign buyers.

Export promotion programs like ATA’s work...

Media Coverage
May 15, 2015

IPA's Rules of Thumb study was mentioned the May 2015 issue of Harvard Business Review:

"A recent field experiment with small-business owners in the Dominican Republic found that teaching them the simple heuristic of keeping separate purses for business and personal life, and moving money from one to the other only once a month, had a much greater impact than conventional financial education. 'The big challenge is to know the realm of applications where these heuristics are useful, and where they are useless or even harm people,' says the MIT economist Antoinette Schoar, one of the...

Media Coverage
April 20, 2015

The International Growth Centre features a blog post by Stephen Anderson-Macdonald, on his IPA study with Bilal Zia and Rajesh Chandy, looking at the mixed history of research on business training for micro-entreprenurs in developing countries and asking if all business training is the same?  They separated out finance from marketing trianing, and compared each to a control group, finding that they both worked, but seem to work by different routes, and differently for different people. Read a summary of the project here.

April 07, 2015

Rwanda’s national economy relies heavily on coffee, which accounts for 30% of the country’s exports. Coffee washing businesses that dry the farmers' coffee beans before export are an important part of the supply chain behind those exports. Each year, these stations require large loans over a short period of time to purchase beans. However, the volatility of coffee prices makes the sector risky for lenders, which means that coffee washing firms find it difficult to secure the loans they need to grow. Alternative approaches to small and medium enterprise (SME) financing could reduce the risk...

April 04, 2015

IPA's Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Program is pleased to announce its' ninth round of requests for proposals, with the deadline of June 15th, 2015. The program seeks to build a body of evidence on the effectiveness of programs and policies that promote SME growth.    SME Program Research Focus Areas The three key research areas of interest for the SME Program are: Access to Finance Human Capital and Skills Access to Markets and Information In addition, there are three cross-cutting themes that are relevant to each of our research areas: economic growth, poverty alleviation & job...
Media Coverage
December 04, 2014

Writing on the Center for Economic Policy Research's dissemination portal, David Atkin, Amit Khandelwal, and Adam Osman discuss their work with IPA studying how to grow Egyptian carpet exporters' business. They report the that improving access to external markets grew the businesses by 15-20 percent, depending on the measure used. You can read more about the study on IPA's site here.

November 12, 2014

Now Accepting Proposals: Competitive Research Fund on Entrepreneurship and Small and Medium Enterprise Growth

IPA's Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Initiative is excited to announce that it is now accepting applications to the 8th round of the Competitive Research Fund on Entrepreneurship and SME growth. We are looking for proposals for research projects that use rigorous methods to test innovative programs and policies that promote SME growth. In the past, the Fund has awarded grants for projects ranging from an evaluation of an export promotion program in Egypt to a study...

Julian Jamison, Dean Karlan, Jonathan Zinman, Gregory Fischer, Antoinette Schoar, Alejandro Drexler
October 20, 2014

  In Uganda, nearly half of surveyed adults were unable to correctly answer a question about interest rates according to a recent Finscope study. When asked “If you were offered a loan with 5% monthly interest rate and a loan with 20% annual interest rate, which loan would offer better value?” 49% ended up choosing the more expensive loan option or were unsure of the right answer.   The Bank of Uganda in collaboration with the German Development Agency (GIZ) is hoping to address these types of gaps in financial literacy with targeted programming and outreach. Its strategy for financial...
October 06, 2014


Editor's note: This piece originally appeared in The Broker

Business training programs are a popular tool used by policy-makers to promote SME growth. However, recent evidence suggests that these programs rarely lead to firm growth or job creation. What do we know about how to effectively support SME development?

Each year, millions of dollars are spent by donors, non-profit organizations, and governments on programs that aim to support the development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs). However, successful transitions from small to medium-sized or large firms...

Media Coverage
October 06, 2014

Ariela Alpert, Sarah Craig, and Lucia Sanchez, of IPA's Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Initiative, have an article in The Broker, explaining a conundrum in the field - while training seems to help small businesses in the developing world grow, the research shows classroom management training consistently disappointing in effectiveness. They review what's known to date in the article here, and more on the initiative's work to find out how to grow small and medium-sized enterprises in the developing work is on their page, here.