CSBDF's offices are currently closed, except by appointment, to comply with NC's public health guidelines. All staff can be reached by phone/email.

Program Evaluation > Evaluation Reports > Innovator’s Journey

Findings Summary

The Innovator’s Journey (INJ) program, carried out by CSBDF in conjunction with a multitude of higher education institution partners, sought to help small business owners innovate and be more entrepreneurial. The intervention encompassed a 6 week curriculum and 12 hours of instruction time. The primary goal of INJ was to promote small business entrepreneurial networks. CSBDF staff conducted an independent outcome evaluation analysis to assess whether the program was able to meet this goal. Data for the evaluation comes from three longitudinal surveys taken by each cohort of course participants.  While there were nominal increases in most outcome metrics across time, most observed changes were not statistically significant.

Departmental Response

CSBDF’s technical assistance management responded to the evaluation, which is included as an appendix to the report. Management concurred with all findings and recommendations. A timeline of 90 days was given to implement the proposed recommendations.

Why This Matters

Meaningful outcome evaluations of community economic development interventions are always challenging. The nature of programmatic interventions like INJ means that outcome metrics are hard to operationalize and subject to a great deal of endogeneity. The INJ program may have had positive effects, but a lack of statistically significant changes means it is not possible to be certain. Our the results show why there is a need for more rigorous program evaluations in the CDFI industry.

Suggested Citation

Carolina Small Business Development Fund. 2020. Innovator’s Journey Program: Outcome Evaluation Assessment. Raleigh, NC. http://carolinasmallbusiness.org/evaluation/innovators-journey/.


Evaluation Report (PDF)


Research Program

Our work is shaped by evidence-based and apolitical research highlighting why small businesses are the foundation of economic development.

View Publications

Data Transparency

Carolina Small Business values openness about how we measure our impacts. We publish how we define outcomes to demonstrate our commitment to accountability.

See the Details