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Innovation and Microenterprises Growth in Ethiopia


  • Gebreeyesus, Mulu

    () (UNU-MERIT)


This paper addresses two prominent issues on the development of small enterprises in Africa. Which factors inhibit or foster innovation activities in small enterprises? Do innovators create more jobs? We use a large set of microenterprises survey data from Ethiopia that comprise 1000 observations with ten and fewer workers. The analysis shows that firms larger in size and in manufacturing are more likely to engage in innovative activities. Among the human capital variables vocational training is found to have a strong effect on the innovation activity. However, firms owned by female and old entrepreneurs are less likely to get involved in innovation. In an extended model of firm growth determinants that includes innovation indicators we found strong evidence that innovators grow faster than non-innovators. Firm growth is also affected by other factors such as the firm's initial size, age, access to finance, sector, and owner character. Our estimation results provide supporting evidence to the stylized fact that the smaller, younger, and less capital constrained firms grow faster than their counterparts. Firms in manufacturing also grow faster than other sectors.

Suggested Citation

  • Gebreeyesus, Mulu, 2009. "Innovation and Microenterprises Growth in Ethiopia," MERIT Working Papers 053, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  • Handle: RePEc:unm:unumer:2009053

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Jocelyn Olivari, 2016. "Entrepreneurial traits and firm innovation," Eurasian Business Review, Springer;Eurasia Business and Economics Society, vol. 6(3), pages 339-360, December.
    2. Voeten, J.J., 2012. "Understanding responsible innovation in small producers’ clusters in Northern Vietnam : A grounded theory approach to globalization and poverty alleviation," Other publications TiSEM e01da02b-ef2b-47c9-8d06-4, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    3. J.J. Voeten & W.A. Naudé, 2014. "Regulating the negative externalities of enterprise cluster innovations: lessons from Vietnam," Innovation and Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 4(2), pages 203-219, October.
    4. Calza, Elisa & Goedhuys, Micheline, 2016. "Entrepreneurial heterogeneity and the design of entrepreneurship policies for economic growth and inclusive development," MERIT Working Papers 043, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    5. Gebreeyesus, Mulu & Mohnen, Pierre, 2013. "Innovation Performance and Embeddedness in Networks: Evidence from the Ethiopian Footwear Cluster," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 302-316.
    6. Woldeyohanes, H. T., 2014. "Dimensions and Determinants of Growth in Micro and Small Enterprises: Empirical Evidence from Mekelle City, Ethiopia," AGRIS on-line Papers in Economics and Informatics, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Faculty of Economics and Management, vol. 6(3), September.
    7. Szirmai A. & Gebreeyesus M. & Guadagno F. & Verspagen B., 2013. "Promoting productive employment in Sub‐Saharan Africa : a review of the literature," MERIT Working Papers 062, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).

    More about this item


    micro and small enterprises; firm growth; innovation; developing countries; Ethiopia;

    JEL classification:

    • L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance
    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O55 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Africa


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