Grow Movement has coached over 2,000 entrepreneurs in low income communities around the world. These entrepreneurs support the livelihoods of tens of thousands through their employees, families and communities. Published academic research on our work has influenced policy at the World Bank.
Grow Movement has measured its impact in a rigorous, independent Randomised Control Trial, considered the gold-standard for impact measurement, which featured in The Economist. In 2015, a collaboration of Stanford University, Chicago Booth and London Business School, part funded by UK AID, commenced an independent Randomised Control Trial of the Grow Movement method of poverty alleviation. 530 entrepreneurs in Uganda received consulting from Grow Movement’s volunteer consultants whilst another 400 did not receive this support and were monitored as a control group. After six to nine months of the consulting program, the research team [which includes Assistant Professor Stephen Anderson of Stanford Business School, Professor Pradeep Chintagunta of the Chicago Booth School of Business, Professor Naufel Vilcassim of the London School of Economics and Associate Professor Frank Germann of Notre Dame, Mendoza School of Business conducted follow-up audits at about 12 months and 18 months post-intervention.
The study found that compared to the control group of 400 firms, who did not receive any consulting, entrepreneurs helped by volunteer consultants grew monthly sales by 27 percent. The research showed 63 percent of entrepreneurs were more likely to pivot or shift marketing strategies than controls. Example business changes include a juice bar expanding into door to door delivery and a mechanics shop narrowing its focus to more profitable oil and tire changes. Case studies demonstrating eight different ways entrepreneurs pivoted their businesses are on pages 43 and 44.
In a subsequent study specifically analyzing coaches who specialized in marketing, monthly sales increased by 51 percent, on average, while monthly profits grew by 35.8 percent, and paid employees by 23.8%. The World Bank has credited the study with significantly changing their thinking for their business support interventions with the World Bank Lead Economist saying: “I am very familiar with this research study and its findings. As the authors point out, in the past, organizations such as mine (but also others) did not give marketing and marketers much thought as they designed business support interventions to fight poverty in developing countries. However, the “Do Marketers Matter for Entrepreneurs?” article has significantly changed our thinking regarding the importance of the marketing function in driving firm growth and, in turn, the role that marketers can play in helping emerging market entrepreneurs to succeed.
In a 2023 study, the academics looked at the impact of coach and entrepreneur gender on entrepreneur performance. They found that although mentor gender has little impact on male entrepreneurs, it has a powerful impact on female entrepreneurs. Grow Movement female entrepreneurs in Uganda coached by remote female mentors increased their profits by 29% in the study compared to the control group. By contrast, female entrepreneurs coached by a male mentor did not significantly outperform the control group. The academics provide suggestive mechanism evidence that female mentor-mentee arrangements are characterized by more relational exchanges.