Examines the effectiveness of the Growing America Through Entrepreneurship (Project GATE) in creating businesses and improving participants’ well-being during a 60-month observation period.

This report presents the findings from the long-term follow-up of the original Project GATE sample five years after random assignment. Project GATE was initiated in 2002 to help emerging entrepreneurs create, sustain, and/or expand their existing small business. Project GATE was implemented as an experimental research demonstration in seven urban/rural sites in three states (Minnesota, Maine, and Pennsylvania). In these demonstration sites, approximately 4,000 individuals applied for Project GATE services. Half of the applicants were randomly selected to receive Project GATE services (participant group); the remaining half was not offered Project GATE services (control group). Those selected for the participant group were offered individualized assessment of entrepreneurial training needs, referral to appropriate service providers, and classroom training and individual counseling at no cost. Control group members were free to pursue entrepreneurship training without assistance from Project GATE. Overall impacts of Project GATE were estimated by comparing the mean value of each outcome for those in the program group with the mean value of the outcome for those in the control group.

Major Findings & Recommendations

Extensive findings are discussed in regards to the impact analysis on business ownership, total employment earnings from self employment, self sufficiency, as wells as a detailed cost-benefit analysis (p. v-viii). The findings from this report suggest the following lessons:

  • Self-employment service programs could be offered at One-Stop Career Centers [now known as America's Job Centers].
  • Self-employment services are readily available even in the absence of Project GATE.
  • Increased business ownership does not lead to a statistically significant increase in self-employment earnings in the short run.
  • Loss of earnings from wage and salary jobs is a significant short-run cost of a self-employment program.
  • Self-employment programs have larger impacts on UI recipients.
  • Eighteen months is too short to determine the effectiveness of Project GATE