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Personal Initiative (PI) Training is a psychological entrepreneurship training. It was developed by Prof. Michael Frese, Prof. Michael Gielnik and their team at the Leuphana University of Lüneburg. PI Training is specifically designed for entrepreneurs in developing and emerging countries because entrepreneurship is a major driver of the economic development in such countries. Embedded in scientific research projects, PI Training equips entrepreneurs with a proactive mindset. It enables them to grow their businesses and to create jobs, thereby contributing to the reduction of poverty in their countries.

PI Training is very cost-effective, paying back training costs within approximately one year. We use a train-the-trainer (TTT) approach which enables local trainers to teach PI Training successfully. Once they pass the TTT workshop, they are skilled to deliver PI Training to entrepreneurs. In addition, the team developed a student training for entrepreneurial promotion (STEP). Click here to learn more about STEP training.

  • Taking action and changing the mindset is what differentiates PI training from other entrepreneurship trainings.

learn about the impact

  • With our projects, we contribute to scientific research by investigating effects of entrepreneurship trainings.

to our projects

  • Entrepreneurs from developing countries all over the world have attended PI training. Take a look at some of the success stories.

to success stories


Showing Personal Initiative means being self-starting, future thinking, and overcoming barriers. Self-starting implies that entrepreneurs act without being told or without mimicking others. They seek to be different in the way they pursue business opportunities. One prerequisite of being self-starting is, therefore, creative thinking.

Future-thinking means that entrepreneurs anticipate potential setbacks and opportunities and prepare for them now. Successful entrepreneurs are able to identify future needs of customers, new customers, changes of laws and technology, social trends, as well as possible threats to their businesses. Future thinking may be related to the next year, but also to longer time frames.

Overcoming barriers means being persistent when problems occur and embracing them as a chance to learn and to develop. Importantly, this also implies that entrepreneurs overcome their own frustrations and difficulties. For example, mistakes happen frequently and they should be treated as something from which their businesses can benefit.

Centennial of IAAP – Prof. Frese speaks about the past 100 years of Applied Psychology and its future

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Prof. Frese speaks about the research on PI Training in Togo (© LATEST THINKING 2018, www.lt.org)

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This World Bank video provides an insight into Personal Initiative Training in Togo

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Talk by Prof. Frese at the occasion of getting the life time achievement award from the OB Division of the Academy of Management

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