Can the Poor be Trained to be Entrepreneurs? The Case of the Academy for Creating Enterprise in Mexico
Vol. Volume 21, Number 2 June/2016
W. Gibb Dyer, Barry West, Ian Peacock, Spencer Yamada & Jessie Dyer
Can training improve the entrepreneurial outcomes of those in poverty? Typical training modalities to teach entrepreneurship to the poor are generally one of three: 1) financial literacy training, 2) values training, and 3) rules of thumb training. In this study we examine the Academy for Creating Enterprise’s (ACE) entrepreneurship training program in Mexico, which uses a variation of all three types of training. We compared those who received ACE training: residential, night-class, and regional, with a control group to see if the training would improve ACE participants’ personal income, business employment, gross revenue, and relative poverty status. Our study shows that, when compared to the control group, ACE training had a marginal positive impact on income, employment, and revenues, and a substantial one on mobility from poverty. When making comparisons within the different types of training, however, the type of training program participants attended had little impact on these same outcomes. Thus, practitioners and researchers interested in training the poor to engage in entrepreneurial activities might explore low-cost, high volume options since there seem to be positive results with these programs when compared to more intensive programs that require more labor and higher costs.
Entrepreneurship education, poverty, Mexico