The Path to Scale Prize for High-Potential Innovations in SME Development
TWCF Number
Project Duration
June 11 / 2018
- June 10 / 2021
Core Funding Area
Individual Freedom and Free Markets
North America
Amount Awarded
Grant DOI*

* A Grant DOI (digital object identifier) is a unique, open, global, persistent and machine-actionable identifier for a grant.

Lucia Sanchez
Institution Innovations for Poverty Action

On average, small and medium enterprises produce over 70% of formal jobs in developing countries. They are responsible for poverty alleviation and long-term economic growth through improved productivity, innovation, and social mobility. Without high-quality research on the full effects of pro-enterprise policies, decision makers can be left without clear guidance on which programs and policies to support. The Small and Medium Enterprise Program (SME) at Innovations for Poverty Action is a coordinated research effort that brings together a global network of policymakers and leading researchers to identify, test, and scale innovative solutions to the constraints that affect SME growth and entrepreneurship.

In this project, SME plans to build on their years of experience in promoting successful entrepreneurship by recognizing the contributions of innovators and supporting effective solutions in their path to scale. Through a careful selection process, SME will administer the Path to Scale award to an innovative, market-based solution to poverty alleviation that can be replicated in a new context. They will identify potential candidates, shortlist the most innovative and effective ideas, and assess the scalability of each of them. They will analyze the mechanisms that have made the projects successful, and identify which components are crucial for success. Proving that the projects are effective and scalable is key to preparing them for implementation by government entities, private business, or other stakeholders.

Beyond selecting the prize winner, the expected results of the program include

  • A policy briefcase describing the prize-winning idea;
  • A replication plan for the winning idea;
  • A toolkit for practitioners interested in implementing the idea in their own contexts; and,
  • An article on the experience of identifying and replicating ideas.

Image credit: Meredith Startz

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