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Teaching personal initiative beats traditional training in boosting small business in West Africa (English)

Standard business training programs aim to boost the incomes of the millions of self-employed business owners in developing countries by teaching basic financial and marketing practices, yet the impacts of such programs are mixed. We test whether a psychology-based personal initiative training approach which teaches and promotes a proactive mindset that focuses on entrepreneurial behaviors can have more success. A randomized controlled trial in Togo assigned microenterprise owners to a control group (N=500); a leading business training program (N=500); or to personal initiative training (N=500). Four follow-up surveys track firm outcomes over two years and show personal initiative training increases firm profits by 30 percent, compared to a statistically insignificant 11 percent for traditional training. The training is cost-effective, paying for itself within one year.


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    Campos,Francisco Moraes Leitao, Frese,Michael Dr., Goldstein,Markus P., Iacovone,Leonardo, Johnson,Hillary C., Mckenzie,David J., Mensmann, Mona

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    Teaching personal initiative beats traditional training in boosting small business in West Africa

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    trade and competitiveness; traditional training; traditional business; small and medium enterprise; business training program; business practice; access to finance; small business owner; short training course; continuity and change; human resource management; human resource practice; diversification of products; return on investment; small business training; small business administration; randomized controlled trials; constraints to entrepreneurship; good business practice; impacts on business; aggregate index; entrepreneurial success; monthly profit; treatment group; baseline survey; take-up rate; firm level; standard deviation; standard error; treatment effect; firm owner; labor input; confidence interval; microfinance client; software firms; action planning; negative value; Exchange Rates; sample selection; firm growth; microfinance organization; Economic Studies; non-governmental organization; economic study; research policy; market practice; short term consultant; currency conversion; life course; entrepreneurial behavior; applied psychology; innovation capability; computer software; management science; sample period; freedom from; public affair; stock control; female enterprise; financial capital; project finance; field experiment; standard economic; behavioral economics; standard accounting; alternative measure; methodological issue; paid worker; innovation activity; business improvement; anonymous reviewer; research assistance; administration support; small-scale entrepreneurship; outcome measure; classroom instruction; attrition rates; estimation methodology; entry regulation; pooled estimate; firm survival; average age; registered company; point estimate; operations management; information seeking; product offerings



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Campos,Francisco Moraes Leitao Frese,Michael Dr. Goldstein,Markus P. Iacovone,Leonardo Johnson,Hillary C. Mckenzie,David J. Mensmann, Mona

Teaching personal initiative beats traditional training in boosting small business in West Africa (English). Washington, D.C. : World Bank Group.