Teaching Entrepreneurship: Impact of Business Training on Microfinance Clients and Institutions␣
Dean Karlan Yale University, Innovations for Poverty Action, and Jameel Poverty Action Lab firstname.lastname@example.org
Martin Valdivia Grupo de Análisis para el Desarrollo email@example.com
September, 2008 Abstract
Most academic and development policy discussions about microentrepreneurs focus on credit constraints, and assume that subject to those constraints the entrepreneurs manage their business optimally. Yet the self-employed poor rarely have any formal training in business skills. A growing number of microfinance organizations are attempting to build the human capital of micro-entrepreneurs in order to improve the livelihood of their clients and help further their mission of poverty alleviation. Using a randomized control trial, we measure the marginal impact of adding business training to a Peruvian group lending program for female microentrepreneurs. Treatment groups received thirty to sixty minute entrepreneurship training sessions during their normal weekly or monthly banking meeting over a period of one to two years. Control groups remained as they were before, meeting at the same frequency but solely for making loan and savings payments. We find that the treatment led to improved business knowledge, practices and revenues. The program also improved repayment and client retention rates for the microfinance institution. There is some evidence that effects were larger for those that expressed less interest in training before the program began. This has important implications for implementing similar market-based interventions with a goal of recovering costs.
Keywords: entrepreneurship, microfinance, business training, business skills, adult education JEL Codes: C93, D12, D13, D21, I21, J24, O12
␣ Authors acknowledge financial support by the Henry E. Niles Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the PEP Research Network, the United States Department of Labor,...