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Rohini Pande, Selim Gulesci, Gregory Fischer, Oriana Bandiera, Antoinette Schoar, David Atkin
September 15, 2014

  Enter almost any market in Uganda, Nepal, or Peru and you are likely to find streets filled with shops all selling the same items, whether it be rows of tire shops, stores selling the same wooden furniture, or shoe shop after shoe shop. It seems that if some of these firms merged to achieve larger scale, they could make more money. Are these firms behaving irrationally, or is the market set up in a way that allows many small businesses to collaborate rather than compete? Research looking at this and other key questions about the growth of small and medium enterprises (SME) was discussed in...
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Gharad Bryan, Pamela Jakiela, Dean Karlan, Daniel Keniston, Antoinette Schoar
July 07, 2014

In developing countries small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are thought to be an important source of innovation and employment because of their flexibility in responding to new market opportunities and their potential for growth. However, entrepreneurs face a number of barriers to expanding their businesses and employing more workers, including constrained access to credit - in 2010 available credit for SMEs in developing counties fell about one trillion dollars short of demand. Why can’t financial institutions in developing countries meet the demand for credit from SMEs?

One reason...

Announcement
May 22, 2014

Sparking a Conversation on Small and Medium Enterprises

The SME Initiative's network of researchers and decision-makers works together to set a policy-relevant research agenda, conduct cutting-edge research, and share findings and best practices to improve the way SME policy is implemented around the world. Twice a year, the Initiative hosts a Working Group meeting to bring network members together to discuss research ideas and results, as well as new opportunities for collaboration. This blog post discusses some of the research presented at the SME Initiative's 4th Working Group...

Announcement
April 16, 2014

 

Last month, the Doha Evidence Symposium brought policymakers and practitioners together with academics and researchers to discuss "what works” in increasing the employment and productivity of youth in the Middle East and North Africa regions. Lucia Sanchez, SME Initiative Director at IPA, is shown above leading a discussion on self-employment and entrepreneurship programs. More information about the symposium can be found here.

Announcement
April 16, 2014

 

The Small & Medium Enterprise (SME) Initiative is pleased to announce a special call for proposals to its Competitive Research Fund on Entrepreneurship and SME Growth. This request for proposals has a focus on High-Growth Entrepreneurship in Latin America and is funded by the Multilateral Investment Fund of the Inter-American Development Bank (MIF/IDB). The objective of this call is to fund studies which will contribute to existing knowledge about fast-growing small and medium enterprises and examine policies that identify and support them. In view of this objective, proposals...

Announcement
October 24, 2013

The Small & Medium Enterprise (SME) Initiative is pleased to announce that it is now accepting a SIXTH ROUND of applications for its Competitive Research Fund on Entrepreneurship and SME Growth. The goal of this fund is to support innovative research that is in line with the initiative's objective to build a systemic body of evidence on the contributions of SME growth to poverty alleviation and economic development. We hope that this competition will have a catalyzing effect to stimulate high quality research that can produce relevant evidence to innovate, implement and scale programs...

Media Coverage
October 04, 2013

Morten Seja writes about affiliate Antoinette Schoar's recent talk at the World Bank, discussing the importance of differentiating subsistence from transformational entrepreneurs in thinking about about policy design for developing countries. Targeting the right kinds of policies to the right kind of entrepreneurs is a crucial topic for IPA's Small and Medium Enterprise Initiative. You can read the full summary of the talk here.

Media Coverage
July 04, 2013

An impediment to accessing finance in a developing economy, in general, and in the Philippines, in particular, is the absence of robust data and credit bureaus that will allow the development of a sophisticated model for determining credit scores based on past borrowing history. There is a need to devise a creative but sound credit scoring model that will tailor inputs to include easily verified information and data relevant to the specific context. The SME Initiative, along with the Development Bank of the Philippines, is evaluating a new a credit scoring system that attempts to improve...

Announcement
April 25, 2013

The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group, and Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) have signed an agreement to establish a High-Growth Entrepreneurship Research Fund. The fund will support studies focused on growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Latin America and the Caribbean, and will be administered by IPA's SME Initiative. The fund will be launched with a total value of over $680,000, including a contribution from the MIF of $506,000.

In recent years, much research has been...

Media Coverage
April 15, 2013

Roughly two billion people in the world live on $2 a day or less. Of these a staggering 50 per cent are estimated to be micro entrepreneurs, running a small business to make ends meet but employing only a handful of people. If just a small proportion of these entrepreneurs were encouraged to grow and invest in their business, and hire more employees, it could transform the fortunes of the developing economies, and billions of people living in poverty. In this article, Stephen Anderson-Macdonald discusses the "Managerial Capital and Business Transformation in Emerging Markets" project,...

Announcement
February 26, 2013

The Small & Medium Enterprise (SME) Initiative is pleased to announce that it is now accepting a FIFTH ROUND of applications for it its Competitive Research Fund on Entrepreneurship and SME Growth. The goal of this fund is to support innovative research that is in line with the initiative's objective to build a systemic body of evidence on the contributions of SME growth to poverty alleviation and economic development. We hope that this competition will have a catalyzing effect to stimulate high quality research that can produce relevant evidence to innovate, implement and scale...

Gregory Fischer, Antoinette Schoar, Alejandro Drexler
November 29, 2012

  Editor’s note: Russell Toth is a Lecturer in Economics at The University of Sidney. In this guest post he talks about research he presented at our Impact and Policy Conference.   How do we move from “proof of concept” to implementable programs in policy R&D? At the recent, excellent IPA Impact and Policy Conference, I presented some research I’ve done on micro and small enterprise activity in Indonesia, including highlighting the remarkable lack of movement “upward” over time from the microenterprise sector to the SME sector. At the end of the session I fielded a question along the...
Media Coverage
October 23, 2012

Given that evaluations of business training programs targeting female subsistence entrepreneurs have shown mixed results, David McKenzie asks if training programs aimed at improving business skills are worth the cost if entrepreneurs are constrained by underlying production technology. He posits that the seemingly small impact of the programs might be improved by combining business training with interventions that address what women entrepreneurs produce and how they produce it.

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September 27, 2012

What are the main barriers to growth for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in low- and middle-income countries?  How can programs be designed and targeted to more effectively address these barriers and promote entrepreneurship and SME growth?  These were the driving questions of the first day of the Impact and Policy Conference in Bangkok, which was devoted to SME development.   The body of evidence on what works (and why) for supporting SME growth is small but growing, and throughout the day a number of leading researchers shared findings from evaluations of programs aimed at addressing...
Announcement
September 27, 2012

A summary of the main questions and presentations from the SME day of the IPA Policy and Impact Conference in Bangkok, including a short discussion of the main barriers to growth for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in low- and middle-income countries and  how to design and target programs to more effectively address these barriers and promote entrepreneurship and SME growth.

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