Impact 2018-06-01T14:48:25+00:00


The impact of Personal Initiative (PI) Training is manifold. First, it changes the mindset of entrepreneurs, which enables them to identify new opportunities, act on them quickly, develop better ideas on how to influence their environment, get more feedback and persist in the pursuit of their new ideas. Second, by implementing an effective entrepreneurship training in developing and emerging countries all over the world, we support the growth of local businesses, and thereby contribute to poverty reduction. Third, we help policy makers and practitioners alike to develop better educational programs for entrepreneurs. Our trainings are based on scientific evidence, and our research meets the highest scientific quality standards by utilizing randomized control trials (RCT). RCTs are the only approach that allows to draw causal conclusions and to better understand the conditions and mechanisms by which entrepreneurship trainings affect business success.

PI Training has been implemented in the context of several internationally funded research projects in Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. PI Training is evaluated using multiple measurement waves. In Togo, for example, its impact was assessed over a period of more than two years. Below, you find some facts and figures from the team’s research in Uganda and Togo (see Glaub et al., 2014; Campos et al., 2017).

In Togo, training participants increased their level of profits by
% within two years after PI Training.
Profit growth in Togo was
times higher than after attending a traditional business training.
In Uganda, entrepreneurs who attended PI Training increased their level of sales by
% within one year.
Participants in Uganda increased their number of employees by
% within one year after PI Training.


“The Personal Initiative Training
opened my eyes, enabling me to grow my
business in new and exciting ways.”
“My wife is so much more passionate about running her
own business now. PI Training is like adding fuel to the fire.”
(a participant`s husband)
“The training has
changed my life more
than my business.”
“This training is very helpful for me.
The business was dying and it has been reactivated
because of this training.”
“Just make it available for all
business persons, it would make a
difference on people first, then on society.”
“I have to say that I am very satisfied with the training and very grateful for giving me the opportunity to participate at no cost to me. Thank you! I have learnt a lot and the way it has been presented to entrepreneurs in Jamaica is great.”
“This course is essential to aspiring entrepreneurs. It saves those us who do not have the resources to get a bachelor`s degree from four continuous years of spending on courses we cannot afford. Turn it into a school!”



Further publications on aspects of Personal Initiative:

  • Baer, M., & Frese, M. (2003). Innovation is not enough: Climates for initiative and psychological safety, process innovations, and firm performance. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 24, 45-68.
  • Brandstaetter, V., Heimbeck, D., Malzacher, J. T., & Frese, M. (2003). Goals need implementation intentions: The model of action phases tested in the applied setting of continuing education. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 12, 37-59.
  • Fischer, S., Frese, M., Mertins, J. C., Hardt, J. V., Flock, T., Schauder, J., et al. (2014). Climate for personal initiative and radical and incremental innovation in firms: A validation study. Journal of Enterprising Culture, 22, 91-109.
  • Frese, M. (2009). Towards a psychology of entrepreneurship: An action theory perspective. Foundations and Trends in Entrepreneurship, 5, 435–494.
  • Frese, M., & Fay, D. (2001). Personal Initiative (PI): A concept for work in the 21st century. Research in Organizational Behavior, 23, 133-188. 
  • Frese, M., & Gielnik, M.M. (2014). The psychology of entrepreneurship. Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior, 1, 413-438.
  • Frese, M., Hass, L., & Friedrich, C. (2016). Personal initiative training for small business owners. Journal of Business Venturing Insights, 5, 27-36.
  • Frese, M., Krauss, S., Keith, N., Escher, S., Grabarkiewicz, R., Luneng, S. T., et al. (2007). Business Owners’ Action Planning and Its Relationship to Business Success in Three African Countries. Journal of Applied Psychology, 92, 1481-1498.
  • Gielnik, M. M., Frese, M., Graf, J. M., & Kampschulte, A. (2012). Creativity in the opportunity identification process and the moderating effect of diverse information. Journal of Business Venturing, 27, 127–142.
  • Gielnik, M. M., Krämer, A.-C., Kappel, B., & Frese, M. (2014). Antecedents of business opportunity identification and innovation: Investigating the interplay of information processing and information acquisition. Applied Psychology: An International Review, 63, 344-381.
  • Gielnik, M. M., Frese, M., Kahara-Kawuki, A., Katono, I. W., Kyejjusa, S., Munene, J., et al. (2015). Action and action-regulation in entrepreneurship: Evaluating a student training for promoting entrepreneurship. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 14, 69–94.
  • Koop, S., De Reu, T., & Frese, M. (2000). Sociodemographic factors, entrepreneurial orientation, personal initiative, and environmental problems in Uganda. In M. Frese (Ed.), Success and failure of microbusiness owners in Africa: A psychological approach (pp. 55-76). Westport, Ct.: Quorum.
  • Rauch, A., Frese, M., & Sonnentag, S. (2000). Cultural differences in planning – success relationships: A comparison of small enterprises in Ireland, West Germany , and East Germany. Journal of Small Business Management, 38(4), 28-41.
  • Rooks, G., Sserwanga, A., & Frese, M. (2016). Unpacking the personal initiative – performance relationship: A multi-group analysis of innovation by Ugandan rural and urban entrepreneurs. Applied Psychology: An International Review, 65, 99-131.


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