Maximising impact of youth entrepreneurship support in different contexts

Research reports and studies
July 2012
Karen Ellis and Carolin Williams

Context is increasingly being recognised as a significant determinant of the impact of an intervention, but significant gaps in knowledge exist about what approaches are most effective, why, and in what contexts. With scarce resources, governments, donors and NGOs need to improve their understanding of which youth entrepreneurship support interventions are likely to have the greatest impact - particularly against the backdrop of the growing ‘Value for Money’ debate.

This report provides an overview of a project which seeks to understand how youth entrepreneurship support initiatives need to be adapted in different contexts to maximise impact. The project aims to provide guidance to policymakers, programme decision makers and those implementing youth entrepreneurship support initiatives on how to prioritise, develop and adapt policies and programmes for young entrepreneurs to the constraints and opportunities in a particular context.

The report sets out the approach to the project, the parameters applied, the analysis and associated constraints, and the toolkit developed, as well as suggested ways forward.

Due to a lack of standardised and hence comparable impact assessment studies across different contexts, the analysis focuses on assessing how the various determinants of and constraints to entrepreneurship (for which cross-country comparable data is available) vary in different contexts, in order to draw some tentative conclusions about which entrepreneurship-promoting interventions are likely to be most effective in these different contexts.

Further, analysis considers how different target groups, or entrepreneurial profiles, will benefit from different types of youth entrepreneurship support initiatives as their specific needs vary.
To facilitate this assessment of the determinants of entrepreneurship, the authors developed a framework for analysis based on the literature, which distinguishes between the drivers of entrepreneurship (e.g. market opportunities and alternative livelihood opportunities), and enablers of entrepreneurship. The latter include (i) the basic requirements for entrepreneurship (e.g. infrastructure, health and primary education, access to finance and the macro-economic environment); (ii) enablers that facilitate efficiency of entrepreneurship (e.g. higher education and training and technological readiness); (iii) those facilitating innovation among entrepreneurs (e.g. business sophistication and R&D transfer).