Digital training on entrepreneurship, financial inclusion and formality for micro-firms

Last registered on November 18, 2021


Trial Information

General Information

Digital training on entrepreneurship, financial inclusion and formality for micro-firms
Initial registration date
July 09, 2020

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
July 10, 2020, 10:02 AM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Last updated
November 18, 2021, 7:53 AM EST

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.


Primary Investigator

Universidad del Rosario

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Universidad del Rosario
PI Affiliation
Corporación Universitaria Minuto de Dios
PI Affiliation
Corporación Universitaria Minuto de Dios
PI Affiliation
Corporación Universitaria Minuto de Dios
PI Affiliation
Fundación Capital

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Financial inclusion and digitalization became an utter necessity for firms in order to survive the strict lockdowns derived from COVID-19 crisis around the world. In low and middle-income countries, micro-firms such as convenience store owners, hairdresser saloons, small shops and restaurants, among others are typically in a bad shape to face the new market conditions. This intervention targets these small firms in order to improve their capabilities to survive in the new normality. It uses a phone-based application (Expertiendia) designed to train and certify firm owners in the topics of: (i) business management, (ii) sales and marketing, (iii) customer service, (iv) financial inclusion and literacy. We target firms located in 10 cities of Colombia, all of them in low and middle-income residential areas close to the campus of a major university.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Gutierrez, Luis et al. 2021. "Digital training on entrepreneurship, financial inclusion and formality for micro-firms ." AEA RCT Registry. November 18.
Sponsors & Partners


Experimental Details


We provide firm owners and managers with access to a digital-based training app (Expertienda) on entrepreneurship skills and financial literacy. The training course is certified upon completion by Rosario University and Minuto de Dios University, and it could be the basis to access further interventions. Firms are located nearby Minuto de Dios University campus, which includes both residential and commercial areas of he cities.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Survival after 1 year of the intervention start
Three indexes: formalization, management practices and financial inclusion.
Profits self-reported category
Number of employees
Reported an investment in the business
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Variables included in the indexes
Formalization: the firm is registered with the appropriate institutions, have the required operation permits, have a book keeping system, and the proportion of employees who are under a formal contract (pays health and pension insurances).
Management practices: A set of variables from the literature including practices related to management of stocks , sales, providers and financial planning.
Financial inclusion: the firm has its own bank account, asked for a loan in the last year, has an insurance product, knows about electronic wallets, beliefs that banks can be useful for firms

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Expanded management practices and knowledge variables
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
There are 10 neighbourhoods for the study. In each case, we made a rapid census of the study area and locate all small businesses. We did a baseline survey (Nov, Dec 2019) in order to develop the design. Units (firms) which wanted to participate in the study, were open, and have someone available -after several attempts- (52% of the rapid census), were grouped graphically and assigned to three blocks:
Arm 1: All units in the cluster are treated
Arm 2: 50% of the units are treated
Arm 3: None of the units are treated
As clusters are located contiguously within neighbourhoods, contamination due to externalities is possible. Therefore, we also consider 4 groups constructed with the proportion of the nearest neighbours (NN) within 50 meters which received treatment.
Group 1: Unit received treatment, and at least 50\% of the NN received treatment.
Group 2: Unit received treatment, and less than 50\% of the NN received treatment.
Group 3: Unit did not received treatment, but at least 50\% of the NN received treatment.
Group 4: Unit did not received treatment, and less than 50% of the NN received treatment (pure control group).
If the effect for group 1 and 2 is the same, and the effect for groups 3 and 4 as well, we would conclude that there are no spillovers. In such case, a simple treated vs control exercised can be performed.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Two-stage randomization
Randomization Unit
Randomization with Stata randomize
Level one: geographic cluster, blocks by two global regions, and commercial density of the location of the firm
Level two: firm (for arm 2), same blocks
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
146 sets of firms, defined by geographic proximity
Sample size: planned number of observations
1172 firms
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Arm 1: 50 clusters; 400 treated units
Arm 2: 48 clusters; 189 treated (26 clusters), 189 control units (22 clusters)
Arm 3: 48 clusters; 394 control units
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Considering the three arms, the minimum detectable difference is of 0.05. That is considering a mean of 0.42 for the main total score with a standard deviation of 0.16, and a intra-cluster correlation of 0.19 (information from baseline survey). With a power of 80%, an average cluster size of 8, with 49 cluster per arm. Yet, simulation exercises will be done for the four groups analysis.
Supporting Documents and Materials

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Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Comité Ético de la Investigación Corporación Universitaria Minuto de Dios
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number