Improving business outcomes for microentrepreneurs through financial heuristics

Inter American Development Bank


Microentrepreneurs  face complex financial management challenges everyday. Research suggests that many of them do not have the financial skills necessary to address these challenges. Financial literacy training is important, but there is little evidence that these programs actually change people’s decision-making and behavior.

Understanding the Context

One microentrepreneur’s existing system.

Understanding the Context

Another example of money management by a microentrepreneur.

A behaviorally-informed intervention

Testing out new, heuristics-based accounting systems.

Applying the intervention

Tackling monthly spending with the help of heuristics.




Behavioral Research
Education & Curriculum Design




Research indicates that simple, actionable rules of thumb (known as heuristics) improve financial capability and positively influence how microentrepreneurs manage their finances.  GRID Impact conducted behavioral research, design and testing of a heuristics-based financial education program for microentrepreneurs for the largest commercial bank in Ecuador.


The Inter American Development Bank is currently running a randomized control trial to test the impact of this heuristics- based financial education program. Results of the trial are forthcoming in 2017.


  • Alexandra Fiorillo

    Project Lead

  • Tania Garbe

    Design Associate

  • Stephanie Halligan

    Financial Literacy Consultant