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Investment Readiness Program for Innovative SMEs in Western Balkans

August 27, 2019

Policy Issue:

Many innovative start-ups and small and medium-size enterprises have good ideas, but do not have these ideas fine-tuned to the stage where they can attract outside funding. Investment readiness programs attempt to help firms to become ready to attract and accept outside equity funding through a combination of training, mentoring, master classes, and networking.

This study conducted a randomized experiment in five Western Balkans countries with 346 firms. It delivered an investment readiness program to half of the firms, with the control group receiving an inexpensive online program instead. A pitch event was then held for these firms to pitch their ideas to independent judges.


The investment readiness program resulted in a 0.3 standard deviation increase in the investment readiness score, with this increase occurring throughout the distribution. Treated firms attained significantly more media attention and were 5 percentage points more likely to have made a deal with an outside investor, although this increase is not statistically significant.


Policy Brief

Detailed Methodology Note

Technical Working Paper


Ana Paula Cusolito, Senior Economist, the World Bank

Ernest Dautovic, European Central Bank and University of Lausanne

David McKenzie, Lead Economist, the World Bank

Funding Partners:

European Commission

World Bank i2i Trust Fund