Entrepreneurship training programmes generally have a positive impact on existing and aspiring entrepreneurs, especially in terms of promoting better business practices. Programmes which
provide training for entrepreneurs often include other interventions such as micro-finance, grants, internships or mentorship (McKenzie & Woodruff, 2013). The varied content of the programmes
as well as differences in length and intensity undermines the extent to which such interventions can be compared. Consequently, it is difficult to reach a consensus regarding how effective
entrepreneurship training programmes are. Entrepreneurship training programmes that combine training with finance have more impact on raising self-employment through start-ups as well as
enhancing business performance and practices (Cho & Honorati, 2014; De Mel et al., 2014; Patel, 2014). Entrepreneurs are more likely to remain self-employed if they have access to a second capital grant (Martinez et al., 2016).
The following findings emerge from the review of impact assessments:
- Entrepreneurship training programmes are designed to promote self-employment through business creation. However, the impact of these programmes on start-up activity is modest. Evidence from such programmes in Chile and Sri Lanka found that self-employment declined in the long-term, that is about two years after the intervention (De Mel et al., 2014; Martinez et al., 2016).
- The impact of entrepreneurship training programmes on other aspects of business performance such as income, sales, profits and inventory is modest. A meta-analysis of 37 programmes found that there was no effect on income (Cho & Honorati, 2014). However, other impact assessments noted small improvements in sales, income, capital stock and loan activity (De Mel et al., 2014; Field, Jayachandran, & Pande, 2010; Karlan & Valdivia, 2011; Martinez et al., 2016).
- Entrepreneurship training programmes are more effective with regard to boosting business knowledge and good business practices (De Mel, McKenzie, & Woodruff, 2014; Patel, 2014). There was a positive effect on business practices in the meta-analysis of 37 programmes, especially among existing small businesses (Cho & Honorati, 2014). Other studies observed improvements in terms of record-keeping, the separation of business and household finances and asset management (Giné & Mansuri, 2014; Martinez et al., 2016). Moreover, these improvements were sustainable over the long-term (De Mel et al., 2014).
- Business training enhances the confidence and sense of empowerment among entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurship training generally helps female entrepreneurs to improve their business practices. Women found that knowledge of business planning helped them to set goals and targets for their enterprises (Bauer, 2011; Patel, 2014). In addition, entrepreneurship training is beneficial for female entrepreneurs because it enhances their confidence and sense of self-empowerment (Patel, 2014). However, such training cannot fully counter the constraining effects of structural barriers to women’s participation in the labour force, such as discrimination based on religion, caste or gender norms (Field et al., 2010; Giné & Mansuri, 2014). The impact of entrepreneurship training programmes in India and Pakistan was undermined by structural barriers to women’s social mobility. However, there is mounting evidence of the positive benefits that women’s social networks and peer support can offer to female entrepreneurs (Patel, 2014).
The impact of entrepreneurship training programmes can be magnified by combining training with finance, as such programmes are more effective in terms of fostering self-employment and
as well as helping entrepreneurs to improve business performance and operations (Cho & Honorati, 2014; De Mel et al., 2014). A study in Chile finds that programmes which incorporate a
second capital grant are more effective in terms of promoting self-employment in the long-term (Martinez et al., 2016). There is no consensus on the ideal length of training programmes, but
training tends to be more effective if it is provided by the private sector (Cho & Honorati, 2014).