Entrepreneurship and business training programs have been created and administered throughout the world and particularly in developing economies to help entrepreneurs open new businesses and grow their current businesses. Evaluations of these programs have shown that most of them successfully help entrepreneurs expand their knowledge and understanding of business principles and practices, but few entrepreneurs will then apply or transfer what they learn into their businesses. Without many entrepreneurs making changes in how they run their businesses, it is no surprise that these training programs generally show little impact on sales or profits. This research explores how business training programs in developing economies can help entrepreneurs go beyond just learning about business principles to making changes in their businesses based on those principles. Put simply, this research explores how training programs can help entrepreneurs act on what they learn. The research for this dissertation is presented in three articles. Article 1 includes a review and analysis of findings from a decade of evaluations and research on entrepreneurship training programs in developing economies around the world. In this analysis, I identified factors that have been found to positively affect training transfer, and then based on these findings I developed a theoretical framework of how training transfer can be facilitated. Article 2 is a multiple case analysis of seven trainers from two different entrepreneurship training programs based in Lima, Peru. This article includes an analysis of six months of in-field observations and interviews conducted in Peru, revealing several challenges trainers face while helping entrepreneurs apply what they learn as well as strategies the trainers use in their efforts to overcome those challenges. Article 3 includes a field experiment to test if using learning contracts in a training program will help more entrepreneurs begin following new business practices. This article also includes a quasi-experimental impact evaluation of the training program as a whole on entrepreneurs' business knowledge, application of business principles, and sales and expenses. The learning contracts showed some impact but not on all business practices. The training program as a whole had a statistically significant impact on knowledge and application but the impact on sales was not statistically significant.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Instructional Psychology and Technology



Date Submitted


Document Type





entrepreneurship, training programs, training transfer, training effectiveness, learning contracts, multiple case analysis, impact evaluation



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Education Commons