Current grant recipients

The first round of calls for proposals for the SGB Evidence Fund has closed and winners have been selected. See below for short descriptions of the researcher-practitioner pairs and the projects they will undertake in the coming year.


What do high-growth entrepreneurs in Africa want?

Practitioner: VC4Africa
Researchers: Emanuele Colonnelli (University of Chicago)
Countries: Across Africa

This project will take advantage of a large dataset from VC4Africa containing information on start-ups, investors, and entrepreneur support organisations in Africa. The researchers will build this dataset out further with new survey data on the decision-making processes of entrepreneurs and other stakeholders to serve as the basis for planned field experiments to investigate how entrepreneurs assess investment and support opportunities as well as identify talent.


Targeting consulting services to high-growth entrepreneurs 

Practitioners: African Entrepreneur Collective, Transformational Business Network and Ongoza
Researchers: Golvine De Rochambeau (Sciences Po) and Vittorio Bassi (University of Southern California)
Countries: Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda

This pilot project will examine entrepreneur selection and matching for training programs as well as the ultimate impact of matching strategies on entrepreneur outcomes. Specifically, the researchers will evaluate the effectiveness of various marketing strategies in selecting entrepreneurs that have high potential for growth and improving the effectiveness of the training delivered as a result.


Evaluating the returns to high-quality employees in medium-sized firms

Practitioner: Open Capital Advisors
Researchers: Gregory Van Pelt Lane (American University), Erin Munro Kelley (World Bank), and Vittorio Bassi (University of Southern California)
Countries: Kenya

This project will determine whether facilitating access to highly skilled employees for medium-sized enterprises can have a positive impact on firms’ business practices and overall growth trajectory. Specifically, the researchers will use a randomised experiment on Open Capital Advisors’ managerial secondment model to examine the extent to which the introduction of a temporary high-performing employee can affect a firm’s immediate practices and growth as well as whether this affects the firm’s overall human capital investment.


Accelerating investment into women-led start-ups
Practitioner: Village Capital
Researchers: Saurabh Lall (University of Oregon) and Amisha Miller (Boston University)
Countries: Kenya, India

This research will examine whether two interventions affect investor behaviour regarding women-led firms: the use of revenue sharing investment models and mindset training around gender bias. The initial stage will establish a basis for understanding the potential mechanisms through which investment structures and mindset training could affect investor activity, with an anticipated follow up through field experiments using Village Capital’s accelerator and investment vehicle.


Hiring frictions and growth among small firms: Evidence from an internet platform-based experiment

Practitioner: Quikr India Pvt Ltd.
Researchers: A. Nilesh Fernando (University of Notre Dame), Niharika Singh (Harvard University), and Gabriel Z. Tourek (Massachusetts Institute of Technology and J-PAL)
Countries: India

This project uses randomisation of access to an online job portal for firms seeking entry-level workers in Bangalore, India to test whether frictions in the labour recruitment process constrain the growth and productivity of small and growing firms. Specifically, the experiment will test whether online portals can do screening and background verifications to improve recruitment pools and ultimately reduce hiring constraints for firms.


The second round of proposals will close on 29th March 2020 and will reopen later in the year. To learn more click here.