A Call for Innovative Ideas on SME Growth


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I wanted to alert our readers to a new competition for ideas of how to best foster Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) growth.  Typically with impact evaluation we end up evaluating a program that others have designed, or working with the occasional bank or NGO that is willing to try a new idea, but usually with firms that are very small in size.  What is missing is a space where people with innovative ideas can get them into the hands of governments designing SME programs. I am working with the new Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice at the World Bank to try to do something new here, to give researchers and operational staff with ideas the chance to get them to a stage where they can become part of World Bank projects, and thereby have the potential to be implemented at much larger scale on lots of SMEs.

Unlike existing research grants which require you to have an implementation partner and country identified, the goal here is identify promising ideas, and support the process of matching these ideas with World Bank operational staff and governments looking to implement innovative and potentially high impact initiatives. The first stage in this process is preparing a simple 2-page concept brief, which is described in the following call which also provides more details on what we are looking for, and the process we are following.
The template for this 2-pager is contained on the website above, and is due December 5th.  The call is open to both World Bank staff (researchers and operational staff) and to external researchers.

This is a new endeavor we are trying. Please don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions about the concept or process, and hopefully some of our readers may have great ideas to put forward.


David McKenzie

Lead Economist, Development Research Group, World Bank

Join the Conversation

November 18, 2014

Hi there. I've designed a framework for SMEs to combat youth unemployment and was willing to send it through as my PHD proposal. I would like to know to what extent is our work copyrighted and whether or not we can come on board in executing our own ideas. I would hate to share my idea and have nothing to show for it especially in light of the fact that 4 degrees later (2 masters) I am still unemployed.
Looking forward to your reply

David McKenzie
November 18, 2014

This is covered to some extent in the FAQ : basically there is an expectation, but not a guarantee, that the originators of the ideas would be involved in some capacity in getting the idea through the testing stage and into implementation. But no guarantee since this depends on finding a good match between the country implementing this, the timing, and the researcher.
On copyright: the ideas are meant to improve the way the world does these projects, and so as is common in these types of competitions, are not copyrighted. We want anything that shows promise to be able to be adapted and used as widely as possible.