June 13, 2012

We are pleased to announce our FOURTH ROUND of Research Funding for Entrepreneurship and SME Growth. The goal of the fund is to support innovative research to build a systemic body of evidence on the contribution of SMEs and entrepreneurship to poverty alleviation and economic development. We hope this competition will have a catalyzing effect to stimulate high quality research on the role of access to finance, human capital, and markets for SME growth and their contribution to development. Please see the Competitive Fund page for more information. 

Complete proposals should be...

Media Coverage
May 30, 2012

A recent evaluation of Chile's supplier development program aimed at improving the linkages between small and medium enterprises and their larger customers showed that the program had positive impacts on the smaller firms, with firms increasing sales, employing more workers, and improving their survival capabilities, among other things.

Media Coverage
May 17, 2012

"Economic development efforts are best served by testing and refining assumptions about what works."

Media Coverage
May 16, 2012

The Christian Science Monitor profiles the work of our partner, J-PAL, as well as some IPA projects, as they point out that perhaps Americans and Europeans who are stressed at the prospects of job growth might have something to learn from the evaluations of what works for the poor around the world. An excerpt:

In both America and Europe, people are pessimistic about the ability of politicians to spur job growth. Traditional economic theories - either left or right - are failing as millions of people face years of being without work or underemployed. And as...

Media Coverage
May 01, 2012

"The authors of this paper conducted a field experiment in Sri Lanka that provided incentives for informal firms to formalize…Their focus is largely on the private costs and benefits of existing firms formalizing.”

Media Coverage
April 27, 2012

"IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, launched the SME Finance Forum [on April 19, 2012], a G-20 initiative designed to improve access to financial resources for small and medium enterprises and catalyze effective SME-financing tools...The forum is a knowledge-sharing platform for data, research, and experiences for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Access to finance remains one of the most significant challenges for the survival and advancement of small enterprises, which are important drivers of economic growth in developing countries. The forum will promote tools and approaches...

Lori Beaman, Jeremy Magruder, Jonathan Robinson
April 25, 2012

Today's NYTimes draws attention to how Zimbabweans are spending so much time waiting around for change -- not change of the political nature this time, the NYTimes notes, but change--small money--for any simple purchase. From bus rides, small purchases of fruit or vegetables, or even a weekly supermarket trip, vendors just don't have change.

But these days, Robson Madzumbara spends a lot of time quite literally waiting around for change. Pocket change, that is. He waits for it at supermarkets, on the bus, at the vegetable stall he runs and just about...

Media Coverage
April 20, 2012

"This report outlines the need to provide capital to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in developing countries. It shows the impact of this capital on economic development, and the role for International Finance Institutions (IFIs) in the provision of this capital. Finally, it outlines recommendations for additional interventions and further research."

Media Coverage
April 03, 2012

"The results of an experiment in Sri Lanka [by Christopher Woodruff and David McKenzie] show the impact of financing on small businesses in communities shattered by natural disasters."

Media Coverage
March 23, 2012

"Christopher Woodruff talks to Viv Davies about his recent research in Sri Lanka that looks at the constraints to growth of micro-enterprises and how to generate job creation; he highlights the effects of wage subsidies, savings programmes, entrepreneurship training, firm registration and the transition from small informal firms to more dynamic enterprises."

Media Coverage
March 22, 2012

"After a comprehensive review of existing studies, with particular focus on recent randomized control trials, David Roodman released a new book arguing that "the average impact of microcredit on poverty reduction of clients is zero.” How should the SME movement learn from the research on microfinance?

Dean Karlan, Christopher Udry, Miriam Bruhn, Antoinette Schoar
February 28, 2012

At Academy Award parties on Sunday across the country, people filled out sample ballots to guess the Oscar winners before they were announced. Now we’re doing the same thing. We’ve got a new challenge for all you blog readers out there: predict the results of our studies.

IPA recently conducted two studies about whether consulting services and/or cash infusions could help small businesses generate more profit or other positive measures of business success. One study was in Ghana with tailors and seamstresses with only one employee, if any; the other was in Mexico with businesses in...

January 05, 2012

The SME Initiative is pleased to announce a THIRD ROUND of funding for the SME Initiative's Competition on Entrepreneurship and SME Growth. The goal of the grants is to fund innovative research that “build a systemic body of evidence on the contribution of SMEs and entrepreneurship to poverty alleviation and economic development.” We hope this competition will have a catalyzing effect to stimulate high quality research on the role of access to finance and human capital for SME growth and their contribution to development. 

Complete proposals should be emailed to sme@poverty-...

Media Coverage
December 14, 2011

"Should development institutions and policymakers be directing fewer resources at microfirms and more at high-growth-potential enterprises or gazelles?"

Antoinette Schoar, Dean Karlan
December 13, 2011

I’m a new staff member at IPA, and on Wednesday, November 30th, I had the privilege to attend the annual conference of IPA’s Small and Medium Enterprise Initiative (SME Initiative). A group of leading thinkers on small and medium enterprises (SMEs) gathered to discuss the current state of research on how to support and encourage small and medium enterprises, particularly in the developing world.

IPA and others, including our host, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), are interested in SMEs because when businesses thrive and create jobs, people have access to income and wealth...