Principal Investigators: Shawn Cole (HBS), Antoinette Schoar (MIT)
Research Team: Vineeth Patapathi, Pratibha Joshi
LEAD Centre: Small Enterprise Finance Centre (SEFC)
Focus Area: SME Finance
Project Geography: Bangalore, Karnataka
Partner: Ideas42, IFC, PEDL
Status: Investigation


This project delivers financial training and business advice through a mobile platform. The advice will be customized to the client, provided on-demand, and developed by experts according to the rule-of-thumb guidelines. Businesses that are part of this exercise will typically contain less than 10 employees, be involved in retail and light manufacturing and have credit requirements up to Rupees 200,000 (i.e. US $3500 approx.).

This research project will first have a pilot phase and then an impact evaluation phase:
The pilot phase will contain the following activities: assess business-advice required by firms, their demand and willingness to pay for the mobile based business advice, content and technology development, test different delivery mechanisms, adapt materials to local context. We plan to include 1000 MSMEs in the pilot phase.

The impact evaluation phase will be conducted through a randomized controlled trial, designed to test the impact of rule-of thumb business training for MSMEs. Firms will be randomly assigned either to the treatment group (who will be given access to the training platform), or to the control group receiving nothing. We expect our sample to include 3000 to 4000 MSMEs for this phase.