Rustandy Center-supported research shows viability of virtual coaching for entrepreneurs.Social Impact Around the Globe: Alumni Work With Rwandan Entrepreneurs
Paper Stimulating Marketing Strategy Innovation with Entrepreneurs in Uganda: Examining the Impact of Skype-aided Business Coaching on Firm Sales
This paper studies the impact of Skype-aided remote business coaching on the strategies and sales of emerging market entrepreneurs. It sheds light on three novel research questions: (1) What is the effect of remote business coaching on firm sales? (2) What is the mechanism through which this effect occurs; specifically, does remote coaching stimulate changes in marketing strategies (pivots)? (3) Do entrepreneurs benefit more from remote coaching when they are less strategic in their decision-making? We conducted a randomized controlled field experiment with 930 entrepreneurs in Uganda to examine the impact of a remote coaching intervention that connects management professionals in primarily advanced markets and entrepreneurs in emerging markets with the aim of improving business performance. The analysis finds a positive and significant main effect on firm sales – treated entrepreneurs increase monthly sales by 27.6% on average. In addition, entrepreneurs who receive remote coaching are 63.3% more likely to have “pivoted” or shifted their marketing strategy in a new direction. And consistent with this mechanism of inducing strategic business changes, the results show that entrepreneurs who receive remote coaching tend to do better when they (ex ante) lack strategic focus. These results have important implications for the development of marketing strategies by entrepreneurs and multinational managers, as well as for organizations interested in improving the performance of small firms in emerging markets and beyond.
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