High Impact Entrepreneur Education Programs deliver massive returns

Several studies suggest that enterprise education is not a good vehicle for poverty alleviation.  Our experience is the opposite.  To understand how we deliver high impact entrepreneur education, we need to look into the root causes of poverty.  

It is not famine, or health.  It is not even a lack of education or resources, that holds back development.  But, it is all about how those resources are distributed.  In the UK, entrepreneurship is a lifestyle choice.  We deploy huge resources to support it.  In least developed countries, entrepreneurship is the route to survival, yet there are few enterprise education resources available to those who really need them.  Those in informal and vulnerable employment have to fend for themselves, but without business know-how, it is hardly surprising that few manage to escape subsistence.  With nothing in reserve, a small set-back quickly becomes a crisis

In many African countries, populations are growing faster than economies.  They are rich in young, ambitious human capital, but without the right skills, that capital remains uninvested.  Empowered women tend to have smaller families, but invest more in their future.  Our experience is that teaching women financial, management and marketing skills brings a massive return. Giving young men those same skills can be pretty potent too, the multiplier tends to be smaller.  Read the case studies below to see why.

Perhaps counter-intuitively, you do not need to be highly educated to learn business skills.  See how Bella in Malawi with only primary education learned to grow her business 

Enterprise Skills training needs to be done right.

Teaching enterprise skills in the classroom has limited impact on its own.  Think of your own experience of classroom training.  You are all fired up after a training course, but when you try to put it into practice;  suddenly it is a lot harder.

  1. What seemed really simple at the front of the class seems somehow not to fit your context.
  2. You want to get cracking, but are not sure where to start
  3. The daily grind simply gets in the way and there is no time.

Sound familiar?

This is why classroom training is not enough on its own.  We need to support and motivate our budding entrepreneurs in the execution of their business plan.  Our programs:

  1. Work one on one with clients to focus general business skills on their very specific business context.
  2. Create tailored intervention plans with clear, attainable and mutually agreed goals
  3. Give accountability to the client through "homework" and checking that tasks are completed.  Action is a key driver of growth.

So it is hardly surprising that these interventions deliver high impact entrepreneur education, typically creating 2 new jobs and adding substantially to profit.  And it works for our business people too.  Showing them what an effective growth program looks like and how to motivate people to high performance is a great skill to take back into their workplace.  It is so much more than mentoring.  Read about one of our live projects here

Case Study: Malawi Multipliers

High Impact womenMeet Rose Kamondo.  

Rose runs the Chisomo Nursery School in Malawi and with the help of her consultant has grown it considerably.  She now looks after over 150 children employing 5 staff.  150 nursery school places enables more mothers to better apply their skills and provide for their  family.  Those kids will grow up with the expectation that mothers work, which helps bring down the birth rate.  With enough people like Rose, we can end the cycle of poverty in countries like Malawi within a generation.

Jessie Kapombe is a farmer.  Her consultant taught her how to keep proper records and budget on her farm and how to manage the skills of her workers, giving her the confidence and capability to expand.  Her workforce now exceeds 120 including 4 sales people that bring in the revenue to increase production.  Jessie is a capable woman, but it is only once she learnt enterprise skills that she has come anywhere  near reaching her potential.


Experimentation is Key

It is only by measuring the impact from each program and constant review and experimentation that we come close to optimisation.  Similar programs have recently been the focus of a Randomised Control Trial conducted by London Business School and Stanford Graduate School of Business looking at over 500 simultaneous business improvement projects in Uganda.  Although the study team have not yet fully completed analysis, early indications are that the there is a significant effect on the reduction of poverty.  We have also learned a great deal through the process and look forward to the complete study being published.