SEED: Soft and Hard skills for Job Creation and High-Quality Economic Participation in Uganda
We propose to study the long-term impacts (8-year follow-up) of the Skills for Effective Entrepreneurship Development (SEED) program implemented at scale as a two-arm RCT among Ugandan youth. SEED is an innovative in-residence 3-week mini-MBA program modeled after western business skill curricula, adapted to the Ugandan context. The program featured two separate treatments: the hard-skills MBA features a mix of approximately 75% hard-skills and 25% soft-skills; the soft-skills curriculum has the reverse mix. After 3.5 years, SEED participants in the treatment groups were more likely to start enterprises, but soft skill training led to the creation of higher quality (formal) businesses. SEED led to 30% increases in earnings. The long-term follow-up will study the quantity and quality of employment, job creation and shed light on underlying mechanism through which the intervention operates and yields lasting impacts, while informing the debate on the optimal combination of soft- and hard-skills in the design of entrepreneurship training programs. The study focuses on a large nationally representative sample of 4,400 young adults (35% female) in their mid to late twenties. They completed the SEED program during the summer after graduating from high school. In only 3.5 years post intervention (four years ago), 72% of the sample was either self-employed or working for someone else, and study participants accounted for 3,369 businesses.