Training and Entrepreneurship: Evidence from Ghana

To increase the rate of entrepreneurship, business incubators and accelerators have proliferated in developing countries. A common feature of these accelerators is the provision of training programmes to entrepreneurs. However, much of the existing research on the effects of training programmes has focused on training provided to existing businesses, with little evidence on the effects of providing training to entrepreneurs before they start a business. Moreover, there is less work on the effects of accelerator training programmes in developing countries and little control for selection bias. To address these gaps in the literature and provide evidence on whether training programmes in business incubators can be effective, this project will select university student entrepreneurs for an accelerator business training programme and use a randomized controlled trial to assess its impact on starting and growing a business.  

The research methodology involves a two-armed randomized controlled trial aiming to draft 300 participants for a training programme offered by the Innovation and Incubation Hub, a business incubator based at the University of Ghana Business School (UGBS). Participants will be students from major business schools in Ghana, selected based off the feasibility of their business startup proposals. Focusing on university students will build on the limited work on the effects of accelerators for highly educated entrepreneurs with the potential for high-growth start-ups. The training programme for the treatment group will run for six months and will contain the following elements on starting and running a business: developing a business idea and proposal, obtaining financing, financial management, and marketing strategies. The following short-term and long-term outcomes will be compared for both treatment and control groups to determine the impact of the programme: whether the applicant started the business, how long it took to start the business, attempts to secure funding for the business, sources of and amounts of funding secured, the main product or service offered by the business, and sales, costs, profitability and productivity of the business. The study will also control for different effects with respect to the gender and socio-demographic characteristics of the participants. Upon completion, this research aims to answer whether accelerator business training programmes can catalyse entrepreneurship in developing countries.

As policymakers in developing countries consider setting up business incubators, the project’s findings can provide data-driven guidance in designing and implementing these incubators. For developing countries, where governments have limited fiscal space, business incubators that train entrepreneurs may provide a more sustainable path for fostering entrepreneurship compared to the government directly financing entrepreneurs.


Ritam Chaurey

Johns Hopkins University

Patrick O. Asuming

University of Ghana

Ama Baafra Abeberese

Wellesley College