Can Government Intervention Make Firms More Investment-Ready? A Randomized Experiment in the Western Balkans
73 Pages Posted: 28 Aug 2018
Date Written: August 6, 2018
Many innovative start-ups and small and medium-size enterprises have good ideas, but do not have these ideas fine-tuned to the stage where they can attract outside funding. Investment readiness programs attempt to help firms to become ready to attract and accept outside equity funding through a combination of training, mentoring, master classes, and networking. This study conducted a five-country randomized experiment in the Western Balkans that worked with 346 firms and delivered an investment readiness program to half of the firms, with the control group receiving an inexpensive online program instead. A pitch event was then held for these firms to pitch their ideas to independent judges. The investment readiness program resulted in a 0.3 standard deviation increase in the investment readiness score, with this increase occurring throughout the distribution. Two follow-up surveys show that the judges'scores predicted investment readiness and investment outcomes over the subsequent two years. Treated firms attained significantly more media attention and were 5 percentage points more likely to have made a deal with an outside investor, although this increase is not statistically significant (95 confidence interval of -4.7 to +14.7 percentage points).
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