Associate Professor, Department of Economics
University of Oxford
Research Fellow, Center for Global Development in Europe
London School of Economics and Political Science
Becoming an entrepreneur is not only a highly regarded career path among young graduates in rich countries, but also across African nations. Yet the biggest barrier for young, motivated people to realise their potential seems to be access to capital. In a recent paper, Simon Quinn and co-author Marcel Fafchamps report on a novel research project designed to test the effects of access to start-up capital. To accomplish this they launched a business idea competition called ASPIRE in Ethiopia, Tanzania and Zambia, where aspiring entrepreneurs competed to win a $1,000 prize for the best idea.
A follow-up survey reveals that winners were substantially more likely to start their own business. The results suggest that a high return on grants can be achieved through the careful selection of recipients, especially through the participation of local business communities in low-cost competitions.
The CGD Europe Sandwich Seminars brings some of the world's leading development scholars to discuss their new research and ideas. The presentations aim to meet an academic standard of quality and are at times technical, and retain a focus on a mixed audience of researchers and policymakers. A light lunch is provided.