Entrepreneurship Training

In cooperation with several African universities, we have developed two training programs for different target groups: the Student Training for Entrepreneurial Promotion (STEP), which has been designed for students and youths, and the Personal Initiative (PI) Training, which has been designed for existing entrepreneurs. We have implemented the trainings in cooperation with several partners in numerous countries across the globe. Our partners in implementing the trainings have been the German Commission for UNESCO (DUK), German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Konrad Adenauer Foundation, BASF Foundation, the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank. We use randomized controlled trials to evaluate the impact of our trainings. This approach complies with the highest scientific standards. The evaluation studies demonstrated that our training programs promote entrepreneurship. The findings hold consistently across the countries and institutions where we have implemented the trainings. The most important facts are:

  • STEP provides an answer to adverse labor market conditions and limited employment opportunities by providing students of developing countries with knowledge and skills for a successful career as entrepreneurs.
  • STEP fits the local context because it is the product of a cooperation with several partner institutions in Africa
  • So far, more than 3,000 students have participated in the training
  • STEP boosts the start-up rate by 34%
  • STEP increases the number of additional jobs – Two years after the training, participants hired 35% more employees than the control group
  • STEP is sustainable – it provides partner institutions with comprehensive know-how about organizing and conducting the training to support the long-term institutionalization of STEP
  • So far, more than 2,500 small and medium-sized business owners from Togo and Ethiopia participated in the PI training
  • The PI training boosts business owners’ creativity and motivation leading to an increased success rate of 30-50%.

STEP and PI training are action-oriented and evidence-based entrepreneurship trainings. Our main target is to provide participants with knowledge, skills, and confidence in their entrepreneurial skills to promote their careers and success as entrepreneurs. In addition, the findings from our evaluation studies contribute to developing a general theory of entrepreneurship training. This theory describes the mechanisms and boundary conditions that explain why and under which conditions entrepreneurship trainings have a positive impact.

Further information:


  • Bischoff, K. M., Gielnik, M. M., & Frese. M. (2014). Entrepreneurship training in developing countries. In W. Reichman (Ed.), Industrial and Organizational Psychology Help the Vulnerable: Serving the Underserved (pp. 92-119). Houndmills, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Frese, M., Gielnik, M. M., & Mensmann, M. (2016). Psychological training for entrepreneurs to take action: Contributing to poverty reduction in developing countries. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 25(3), 196-202.
  • Gielnik, M. M., Frese, M., Bischoff, K. M., Muhangi, G., & Omoo, F. (2016). Positive impact of entrepreneurship training on entrepreneurial behavior in a vocational training setting. Africa Journal of Management, 2(3), 330-348.
  • Gielnik, M. M., Frese, M., Kahara-Kawuki, A., Katono, I. W., Kyejjusa, S., Ngoma, M., Munene, J., Namatovu-Dawa, R., Nansubuga, F., Orobia, L., Oyugi, J., Sejjaaka, S., Sserwanga, A., Walter, T., Bischoff, K. M., & Dlugosch, T. J. (2015). Action and action-regulation in entrepreneurship: Evaluating a student training for promoting entrepreneurship. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 14(1), 69–94.
  • Gielnik, M. M., Uy, M. A., Funken, R., & Bischoff, K. M. (2017). Boosting and sustaining passion: A long-term perspective on the effects of entrepreneurship training. Journal of Business Venturing, 32(3), 334–353.
  • Glaub, M. E., Frese, M., Fischer, S., & Hoppe, M. (2014). Increasing personal initiative in small business managers or owners leads to entrepreneurial success: A theory-based controlled randomized field intervention for evidence-based management. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 13(3), 354–379.
  • Mensmann, M. , & Frese, M. (2017). Proactive behavior training: Theory, design, and future directions. In S. K. Parker & U. K. Bindl (Eds.), Proactivity at Work: Making things happen in organizations (pp. 434-468). New York: Routledge.