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Billions of Euro are Spent Every Year on Entrepreneurship Training....

Billions of Euro are Spent Every Year on Entrepreneurship Training....

03 March, 2022


...But does it work?


‘Does it work?’ is perhaps too simple a question but makes for a catchy title perhaps. More useful questions are, ‘When does it work?’ and ‘What evidence do we have to prove it?’

In this blog, I’d like to discuss the only two research groups that have published experimental proof of entrepreneurial training efficacy using randomised controlled trials. Last year, the Hincks Centre hosted one of those research groups to present their work on start-ups in a traditional incubator. A recording of the session is available here. This year, we are delighted to host a talk by Prof Florian Hoos, a member of the other group, regarding their research on social entrepreneurship. Florian is Affiliate Professor in Accounting and Management Control from HEC Paris. To register for the webinar, please click here.

Worryingly, in a Randomised Controlled Trial, they found no impact from a programme that cost €12,000 per participant. The programme taught participants about leadership, social entrepreneurship and the areas within social entrepreneurship that are most important. There was an emphasis put on introducing participants to well-known social entrepreneurs under the assumption that this would encourage and inspire them to go out and be social entrepreneurs. This assumption was not supported by this rigorous assessment.



However, it is not all doom and gloom! The programme was revised to focus less on those elements previously mentioned, and to increase the focus on:

  • Lean Startup;
  • Analytical methods and
  • Structured one-to-one mentoring.

This revised programme had an impact on the social entrepreneurial actions of the participants and is therefore one of the few examples of causal evidence showing the benefit of one type of programme as well as the inefficacy of another type of programme. Co-authored with Thomas Åstebro, Prof Hoos’s research used a low cost form of randomised control trial. It entailed ranking applicants and providing the programme to every second applicant by ranking, and then observing the rate of social entrepreneurship activity, a year or three years later.

Given the billions of euro spent on entrepreneurship training every year, a small fraction of that should be spent on identifying what works and, perhaps more importantly, what doesn't work going forward.



Webinar Agenda

  • 14.00 - 14.05 Introduction and welcome, Dr Niall O’Leary
  • 14.05 - 14.45 Evidence-based Social Entrepreneurship Training, Prof Florian Hoos
  • 14.45 - 14.50 Q&As for Prof Hoos
  • 14.50 - 15.00 Break
  • 15.00 - 15.15 Evidence-based Entrepreneurship Training - an update on last year's event, Andrea Coali and Franceca Bacco
  • 15.15 - 15.30 New SSDM Project, Dr Niall O'Leary
  • 15.30 - 15.40 Q&As
  • 15.40 Summary and close.


Registration for this event is closed.



By Dr Niall O’Leary
Research Fellow in Entrepreneurship
Hincks Centre for Entrepreneurship Excellence
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