With their research projects, the team contributes to economic growth in developing and emerging countries by implementing effective entrepreneurship trainings. Each project accounts for the local conditions under which Personal Initiative (PI) Training is implemented. Projects start with a train-the-trainer workshop so that local partners can continue to deliver PI Training beyond the duration of the projects. In total, approximately 5,000 entrepreneurs around the world already had the opportunity to attend PI Training (as of end of 2019).
In Togo, the team conducted a randomized controlled experiment with 1,500 micro entrepreneurs. They compared two types of training aiming to increase business success: A business training taught business-related skills and knowledge and was compared to Personal Initiative Training which changed the mindset of entrepreneurs to increase their personal initiative. 500 micro-entrepreneurs were in the control group. We sought to understand the boundary conditions of both trainings, i.e. which characteristics determine whether a person will benefit more from a business or more from Personal Initiative Training. The team also investigated the processes by which the trainings influence business success. Further, they were interested in female-male differences in the success of the business training. The project was initiated by the World Bank and implemented in collaboration with PADSP in Togo.
In Mexico, the team offered PI Training together with a Business Literacy Training to female entrepreneurs. The project emerged from the cooperation between Leuphana University, Crea (NGO), and the World Bank. A total of 3,200 women business owners participated in the program. 1,600 women were assigned to a training condition and 1,600 to control/waiting control group. The research focused on factors leading to business success. Particularly, proactive behavior (PI behavior) and entrepreneurial empowerment were hypothesized to be the mechanisms that help proactive behavior to improve business performance.
In Ethiopia, the team implemented PI Training as part of the Women Entrepreneurship Development Project, initiated by the World Bank. They randomly selected and assigned 2,000 growth-oriented women entrepreneurs operating in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa to either PI Training, a holistic business training, or a control group. The research design aimed at understanding the specific outcomes and mechanisms of different training approaches.
A research project in Jamaica investigated effects of a combination of PI and business practices training compared to a version of PI Training which particularly focused on persistence. The project was initiated by the Inter-American Development Bank and assigned approximately 1,000 entrepreneurs from the country`s capital Kingston and adjoining parishes to one of the two training groups or a control group. Besides contrasting PI Training with a combination of PI and business practices training, a distinguishing element of this project was its behavioral focus in measuring outcomes of the intervention.
A project in Uganda was the starting point of the first randomized controlled experiment on PI Training. It included 47 participants who attended PI Training and 53 entrepreneurs in a waiting control group. The team measured personal initiative and success at several points in time (4-5 months after the training and 12 months after the intervention). This study also started the team’s tradition of using evidence-based approaches to develop and to evaluate PI Training. This project was supported by Markere University Business School, by the DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Auslandsdienst), and by the German Research Foundation.
Under the scope of a World Bank project led by the Pilot Interventions to Increase the Impact of Rural Roads on Factor Accumulation and Productivity in Nicaragua, the team contributed to a randomized control trial study. The target population comprised a sample of 700 household heads or spouses in rural Nicaragua. The intervention provided all participants in the sample with training on personal initiative. 350 households of the sample also had the opportunity to sign up for a simple savings account which offered the chance of increased investment in self-employment as well as to form saving goals.
Under the auspices of a World Bank project led by the Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice, the World Bank’s Africa Gender Innovation Lab (GIL) conducts a randomized control trial study to measure the impact of a training intervention targeted to a sample of 2,000 poor female farmers across 100 communities in Tete province, Mozambique. The intervention provides all women in the sample with training on agronomy and basic business techniques. Half of the sample also receives Personal Initiative Training which was adapted to the specific context of agricultural entrepreneurship by a team from the Leuphana University Lueneburg.
In Madagascar, the team implemented PI Training at three local Business Development Centers as part of the World Bank’s Integrated Growth Poles and Corridors series of projects (PIC). The objective was to equip each Business Development Center with a pool of certified PI Trainers. In addition, PI Trainers from Antananarivo continue to deliver PI Training to different target groups, for example to Malagasy female entrepreneurs who manage energy kiosks.