Increasing the productivity of entrepreneurship and transforming micro-enterprises into SMEs is one of the major challenges facing local policy makers, international institutions, and NGOs. Mozambique is currently highly dependent on coal and aluminium exports from megaprojects, while local private sector development is still lagging behind. Especially in rural areas, where almost 70% of the population lives, the Mozambican government is searching for programmes that can enhance economic growth and reduce poverty. One of such programmes is the Entrepreneurship Curriculum Programme that was introduced by the Mozambican Ministry of Education and Culture, together with UNIDO and the Government of Norway. This programme fosters entrepreneurship creation, but it missed evaluating how to achieve the transformation of micro-enterprises into SMEs.
The aim of this research project is to provide experimental evidence on the mechanisms and possible solutions to support exactly this objective. For this purpose, a randomized control trial pilot study will be implemented among small-scale entrepreneurs in the outskirts of Maputo. Specifically, we will provide experimental evidence to answer the following key questions:
- Can entrepreneurship training positively affect productive microenterprises in low-income countries?
- Can the aspirations of entrepreneurs, i.e. the goals they set themselves, be changed in a way that leads microenterprises towards efficiency, by showing them a video of successful role models that started from a similar starting level but are now more successful and productive?
- Can synergetic productivity gains be obtained by combining entrepreneurship training with setting positive aspirations of micro-entrepreneurs?
During this trial we will have six different treatment groups: two groups that will only receive one of the two aspiration treatments respectively, one group that will watch a placebo video only, two groups that will receive one aspirations treatment plus business skills training, and one group that will receive only business training and watch a placebo video. Comparing the outcomes for these different treatment groups will enable us to evaluate the impact of aspirations and business skills on profits and investments – and thus their contribution to foster private sector development.
We will sample 480 already established micro-entrepreneurs spread over approximately 48 markets in the greater Maputo area. During the course of this research project we will undertake a baseline survey, a post-questionnaire survey immediately after the intervention, and an endline phone survey 3 months after the treatment. Our main outcome variables will be obtained by collecting detailed data on different levels of business outcomes.