Evaluation: Lessons Learned from TechnoServe’s Work with Small and Growing Businesses in Central America

The Argidius supported Impulsa Tu Empresa (ITE1) (‘’Boost Your Business”) was the first iteration of an accelerator program run by TechnoServe which supported more than 1,000 dynamic and formalizing businesses in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Burkina Faso. The median size of enterprises in the year prior to participation was $87k and the cost per enterprise was $5k-$8k depending on whether the participant received aftercare. These businesses increased their sales by > $35 million, created >1,100 new jobs and mobilized > $5 million in capital since 2012. The following findings are based on Emory University’s analysis of the performance after 1 year of 432 businesses across Central America.

Key findings so far:

  1. Average absolute revenue growth after 1 year was 33%, or $29,000
  2. Adviser/Entrepreneur pairings matched on gender (Male/Male or Women/Women) perform better than mixed gender pairings
  3. The majority of participants credited the project with contributing to their growth; however, simple satisfaction does not correlate with growth. Instead, those for whom advice focused on strategy, planning and marketing were more likely to be correlated with growth
  4. Access to capital, by itself, is not a limiting factor to growing revenues, and when businesses are ready and willing to seek finance, their success rates are higher than one might expect: >50%
  5. A number of factors have minimal correlation with revenue growth: country, stage of business development, industry sector and age of business. This challenges the prevailing view that fast-growing firms tend to be young and small

Accelerating Impact for Entrepreneurs

ITE has been included in the impact audit of Technoserve: https://www.impactm.org/impact-audits