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Aventura de Construir (ADC) is an NGO supporting micro entrepreneurs in the suburbs of San Paulo, Brazil.

Today, micro entrepreneurs represent in Brazil a numerically (in January 2017 the micro entrepreneurs formalized are more than 6.5 millions) and economically (the small and medium-sized enterprises represent 27% of GDP) relevant target.

More and more often, mainly in the extensive urban suburbs, small and medium-sized enterprises form the only economic web, helping the social cohesion and confronting “bedroom communities” formation. In the economic crises Brazil is facing, they became a concrete answer to unemployment (manly youth).

For these reasons, since 2012 and after a deep research and analysis about the referring market, ADC decided to offer trainings, consultancies and support to micro finance to these economic realities.

After some years of operation and with the increasing stability of the job, ADC decided to quantitatively value the impact of its activities, through the measurement of the change promoted  on the working conditions of micro entrepreneurs.

It was therefore designed and implemented, with the scientific support of ALTIS – Postgraduate School Business and Society of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart of Milan (Italy), an impact measurement system based on the theory of change, generated by the activities pursued through the stakeholders’ participation and involvement, with a counterfactual approach.

Methodologically, it was developed a procedure for stakeholder engagement for the collection of output data and outcomes through business impact metrics (eg. Workers, environmental protection actions, sustainability, formalization, turnover, different payment systems). Ad hoc interviews were conducted at the involved target, in order to make an accurate longitudinal analysis of the perception of the benefits produced by the actions and causal links to achieve those benefits.
Specifically, four groups of entrepreneurs (each of forty members) have been identified, one of which consists of entrepreneurs who did not participate in the initiatives of ADC (control group) and three who instead had access to the various services. Some of the recipients entrepreneurs (70) have made use of more than one service, and then appear in more than one sample group.
The questions were chosen in order to obtain objective responses, without requiring too much time to the respondents. The questionnaire was finally submitted to the entities identified by a six-monthly basis. By the analysis of the results, by comparing the target groups with the control group, it is observed that those who took part in the activities of ADC has progressively improved its management capacity (knowledge of revenue and profit), bringing their businesses to achieve more revenues and profits. (For these indicators the p value was less than 0.1).The indicators relating to the “formalization”, although the data of beneficiaries are higher, are showing a similar evolution in time between the groups. (Here you can see the measurement results, in Portuguese)It is important to stress that during the period of analysis, Brazil has experienced significant economic changes: if in 2012-2013 the GDP grew by 2-3% per year, in 2015 there was a decline of nearly 4% and the weak segments, such as micro-entrepreneurs followed by ADC, were among the most affected.Precisely in this context, it is emerged the usefulness of the control group: in a general decline trend, if ADC had drawn only beneficiaries, would have observed only the decrease of the indicators, generating an uncorrected image on the usefulness of its intervention. In summary, the process of defining the social impact assessment system, data collection and learning designed to improve services, along with the confrontation with experts of ALTIS, Comunitas and Kellogg Institute, has been a continuous and challenging work. This has allowed ADC to get a solid system, which has enabled and will enable more detailed analysis on the type of services needed to low-income micro-entrepreneurs, as well as raising the awareness about the effectiveness of ADC’s actions as a concrete response to crisis situations.

Translation from the article “L´impatto di Aventura de Construir (Brasile)”