Tidningen entré skriver om min mikrofinansforskning samt MTI Investment — investerar i växande små och medelstora företag i Östra Afrika

I senaste numret av entré skriver journalisten Maria Linde om min avhandling samt om vårt jobb med MTI Investment AS – det nordiska investmentbolaget som investerar i växande små och medelstora företag i Östra Afrika.

För att ladda ner delen som har med min forskning att göra klicka här:

Pontus Engström_entre-nr-4-2016

För att ladda ner hela tidningen, klicka här:



The Role of Finance and Microentrepreneurship in the Informal Economy

On June 20 2016 I defended successfully my thesis at the University of Agder in Norway. Since then I am affiliated with the Stockholm School of Economics, where I do research, supervise students and teach in courses related to entrepreneurship both in the Executive MBA program and also in the Master program. I also hold a position as an Associate Professor at Hauge School of Management at NLA Høgskole in Oslo, currently teaching a bachelor course in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. My focus area is on financing of entrepreneurship. Building on the learnings from my thesis, I  founded MTI Investment AS together with my supervisor, Professor Trond Randøy, and two fellow PhDs from Tanzania, Dr. Neema Mori and Dr. Gibson Munisi. It is my firm belief, that while financing microentrepreneurs in the informal economy do help people make more money, and also stay away from criminal activity, informal societies and developing countries need more small and medium sized businesses. We seem to be fixated with this romanticized idea that all people are entrepreneurs, but if we were to go back 100 years in time and look at Norway and Sweden from a distance – would we have suggested microfinance as the solution to get people out of poverty. While it is helpful, why shy away from financing the real job creators in an economy, the small and medium-sized firms.


A research mention in “Vårt Land”

The Norwegian newspaper Vårt Land writes in the Monday issue (October 17, 2016 p. 8-9) about my research in an article with the title “Therefore microfinance is not that effective” (Derfor er mikrofinans lite effektivt). While my findings do find that microfinance does add extra income to an individual´s business, it also shows that size can act as a counterbalancing factor such that income actually is reduced with increased sized. The economies of scale are in other words negative in the early phase of the firm. My research also points to the fact that growth in sales or assets does not seem to be related to taking on microloans. This is not controversial. What is obvious and perhaps more relevant from my research is that the level of financial literacy among poor microentrepreneurs is VERY low, and then one should take into account that the clients I surveyed were not the poorest of the poor, but merely poor. Little research is still however done in this area, and much more is needed. There is even research pointing towards the odd fact that those with more education actually do worse. This

Little research is still however done in this area, and much more is needed. There is even research finding in some informal economies that those with more education actually do worse (Honig, 1998). This is counterintuitive, and much more research is needed here. I am currently working on a paper which looks at the role of Financial Literacy, Role Models and how these two concepts affect firm performance in the informal economy. Research in the left tail of human capital among the poorest individuals on the planet is still in its infancy, but over time we will eventually learn how to effectively lift the human capital and sustain individuals in an improved economic state. The practical example of MTI Investments, and other pioneering firms, financing small and medium-sized firms, may be leading the way in this regard, where more investments are allocated towards small and medium sized firms, rather than mostly microenterprises today.


What is the Informal Economy?

This interesting TED-talk by Diana Enriquez provides a nice introduction to what my PhD is about, the Informal Economy. In India, about 84% get their employment from the informal economy, that is a little bit more than 4 out of 5 jobs. The informal economy exists even in Europe, the US and other developing countries. The informal economy is everywhere, but a lot more in developing economies. Informal businesses are businesses which operate out of sight of government regulations, either completely or to some degree. My PhD looks at how finance and specific skills like financial literacy can enhance the micro businesses of the informal economy. Currently I am working on finishing the 3-4 papers which will be used in my PhD dissertation, with the intention to submit later this year. Cheers, Pontus


Lyssnade precis på en oklippt intervju med Steve Jobs från 1990 där han beskriver lite om varför han startade ett företag. Han berättar där att han och en kollega gick till Atari och HP för att skapa det nya datorkoncept man kommit på. Man fick avslag båda av Atari och HP.

“We started a company because it was the only alternative left, not because we wanted to” (10 minuter in i sändningen)

“We were out to build computers for our friends, no idea of starting a company” (19 minuter in)

Sen diskuterar han en del kring personlighet och entreprenörskap:

“The doers are the major thinkers. The people that really create the things that change this industry, are both the thinker doer in one person.” (37 minutes)

Nyföretagande kräver ny form av finansiering

Nyföretagande kräver ny form av finansiering

(entrepreneurship needs new form of financing)

Me and Professor Lars Oxelheim write about entrereneurship and how the Nordic Investment Bank could be used to support initiatives among groups who lack access to traditional banks, or are in an earlier stage of the start-up process

Tomten bor i Finspång (Santa lives in Finspång)

(english follows)

Lagom till jul har så Statistiska Centralbyrån SCB publicerat något som jag länge misstänkt, nämligen att Tomten bor i Finspång. Tack till Tommie Näslund för att han först gjorde mig uppmärksam på detta. Se hela artikeln från SCB här. SCB skriver:

Tomtens bostad och verkstad behöver vara så centralt placerad som möjligt i förhållande till alla barn. Med utgångspunkt från barnens adresser har en demografisk mittpunkt framräknats för Tomtens bostad. Tomtens demografiskt placerade bostad ligger vackert belägen i skogen i Östergötland, norr om sjön Mellanjuten i Finspångs kommun, mitt emellan Rejmyre och Igelfors. Samtidigt som platsen är centralt placerad utifrån barnens adresser, bor tomten avskilt utan större trafikerade vägar i närheten så han kan arbeta ostört i sin verkstad.


För att ge lite mera detaljer om exakt var man tror att tomten bor har jag gjort en enkel sökning via Google Maps och funnit den beräknade platsen. Strax sydväst om denna plats befinner vi oss över jul hos min far, så det känns nu äntligen som jag har fått bevis för vem som är tomten…och varför tomten och farsan ofta har samma skor. Men var han har Rudolf och renarna har jag inte riktigt löst. Ja hela Finspång är väl underleverantör kan jag tänka. Värsta tomtestaden helt enkelt.

var bor tomten

Se även: Aftonbladet, Folkbladet, Skånskan etc.

(In english)

Just in time for Christmas, Statistics Sweden (SCB) just published something I long suspected, namely that Santa Claus lives in Finspång. Thanks to Tommie Näslund for making me aware of this. See full article from SCB here. SCB writes:

Santa’s home and workshop needs to be as centrally located as possible in relation to all children. Based on the children’s addresses, a demographic midpoint has been calculated for Santa’s home. Santa’s demographically positioned property is beautifully located in the woods in Östergötland, north of Lake Mellanjuten in Finspångs Municipality, midway between Rejmyre and Lotorp. While the location is centrally located by the children’s addresses, Santa lives a secluded plot with no major roads nearby, so he can work undisturbed in his workshop.

To give some more details about exactly where it is believed that Santa lives, I have done a simple search on Google Maps and found the calculated location (see photo above). Just south of this location (as the photo illustrates), we will be visiting my father over Christmas, so it feels like I finally have proof of who actually Santa is.. It also explains why dad and Santa have the same shoes. But I wonder where he keeps Rudolf.