Current grant recipients

The first two rounds of the SGB Evidence Fund call for proposals have closed and the grantees have been selected. See below for short descriptions of the researcher-practitioner pairs and the projects they will undertake in the coming years.

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.

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.

Gender Discrimination in Access to Capital: Experimental Evidence from Ethiopian SBGs

Practitioner: Entrepreneurship Development Centre
Researchers: Shanthi Manian (Washington State University) and Ketki Sheth (University of California)
Countries: Ethiopia

Gender discrimination against entrepreneurs may drive gender gaps in access to capital and subsequently reduce the performance of female-owned businesses. This raises concerns about gender equity, but also growth: by misallocating capital, discrimination can reduce the returns to capital and thereby reduce productivity and economic growth. Using a randomized experiment, the researchers aim to identify whether financial providers discriminate against female entrepreneurs when evaluating their business’ productivity. The research design will also identify the efficiency implications of discrimination (i.e. implications on return to capital and productivity), and the underlying mechanism driving discrimination.

Evaluating a novel approach for expanding the pool of entrepreneurs creating SGBs in Myanmar

Practitioner: Phandeeyar Foundation
Researchers: Louise Guillouet (Columbia University) and Reka Zempleni (Stanford University)
Countries: Myanmar

This project will try to understand what characteristics and skills entrepreneurs need to succeed. The researchers will then use an iterative design thinking process and pilot interventions to test whether a mostly psychological intervention can make early-stage entrepreneurs believe in their own ability to improve in any skill and have the skillset for actually doing so. If successful, this outcome will increase the size of the potential start-up pool for incubators and accelerators.

The current call for proposals will close on 1 November 2021 at 23:59 GMT. To learn more click here.