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Impact Rating


Top Poverty Nonprofit Impact Audited

Impact: $4,500 increases the net revenue of a small business owner by $150,000.

Impulsa Tu Empresa meets the benchmark for high cost-effectiveness. The nonprofit increases income for a beneficiary by more than $1.50 for every $1 spent.

Note: The impact of this program may not be representative of the entire operation of TechnoServe.


Governance: Passes checks


TechnoServe is a leader in harnessing the power of the private sector to help people lift themselves out of poverty. A nonprofit organization operating in 29 countries, we work with enterprising men and women in the developing world to build competitive farms, businesses, and industries. By linking people to information, capital, and markets, we have helped millions to create lasting prosperity for their families and communities.



Rated Program

Impulsa Tu Empresa

Program Geography

Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa


Arlington, VA


Donations processed by the nonprofit.



Rated Program

Impulsa Tu Empresa

Program Geography

Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa


Arlington, VA


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Rated Program

Additional analysis available:  Download


Impulsa Tu Empresa


Impulsa Tu Empresa is a business accelerator program that provides two to three months of classroom training and seven months of consulting to small and growing businesses.

Program Type

Livelihood Support

Beneficiaries Served

People living in poverty


Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa

Outcomes: Changes in people's lives. They can be caused by a nonprofit.

Costs: The money spent by nonprofits and their partners and beneficiaries.

Impact: The cost to achieve an outcome.

Cost-effectiveness: A judgment as to whether the cost was "worth" the outcome.


Outcome Metric

Net revenue for a small business owner.

To calculate impact, we estimate how many outcomes the nonprofit caused.

Data Source

TechnoServe collected outcome data on the pre- and post-intervention ("pre-post") gross revenues of a large sample of participating businesses. Outcome data was also drawn from the results of the World Bank's Enterprise Surveys of firms in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.

Time Period of Data

April 1, 2013, to July 31, 2017

Ratings are based on data the nonprofit itself collects on its work. We use the most recent year with sufficient data. Typically, this data allows us to calculate direct changes in participants' lives, such as increased income.

Method for Attributing Outcomes

We subtract from pre-post results an estimate of counterfactual success based on the average annual rate of sales growth found in the Enterprise Surveys, then adjust impacts by the probability that businesses survive to enjoy them.

To determine causation, we take the outcomes we observe and subtract an estimate of the outcomes that would have happened even without the program.


Data Source

Cost data reported by TechnoServe and data and assumptions about partner and beneficiary costs.

All monetary costs are counted, whether they are borne by a nonprofit service deliverer or by the nonprofit’s public and private partners.


Impact Statement

$4,500 increases the net revenue of a small business owner by $150,000.

Confidence in Impact Calculation

ImpactMatters assigned a rating of 3/5 for the audit team's confidence in its impact estimate for the Impulsa Tu Empresa program.

We calculate impact, defined as the change in outcomes attributable to a program divided by the cost to achieve those outcomes.


Benchmark for Rating

Impact ratings of livelihood support programs are based on income generated relative to cost. Programs receive 5 stars if they increase income for a beneficiary by more than $1.50 for every $1 spent and 4 stars if income increases by more than $0.85 for every $1 spent. If a nonprofit reports impact but doesn't meet the benchmark for cost-effectiveness, it earns 3 stars.


The nonprofit increases income for a beneficiary by more than $1.50 for every $1 spent.

Why We Could Be Wrong

We welcome your suggestions for improving our methodology. Our methodology section includes explanations of how we mitigate these issues.

  • The outcome could oversimplify total impact. Using “increased net revenue” as the metric of analysis may not intuitively convey the potential downstream benefits of participating in a livelihood support program, such as reduced financial stress.
  • There could be multiple important outcomes not captured in our analysis.
  • TechnoServe may be spending additional money in order to serve harder-to-reach and/or particularly valuable populations.
  • In the absence of better data, we assume uniform counterfactual rates for programs, at the risk of masking variation across nonprofits.
  • Our estimates rely on data made public by TechnoServe on its website, annual reports, financial statements and Form 990s.
  • We only analyze programs that meet our criteria. As a result, this report may not fully reflect the impact of TechnoServe.
  • We do not assess what explains the nonprofit's cost-effectiveness.

We assign a rating to the nonprofit using the rubric:

  • There are indications of governance or financial health issues at the nonprofit.

  • After being given an opportunity, the nonprofit chose not to publish impact information.

    We are not yet issuing this level of star rating.

  • The rated program does not meet our benchmark for cost-effectiveness.

  • The rated program is cost-effective.

  • The rated program is highly cost-effective.

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Nonprofit Comment

(Adapted from the Impact Audit.) We are proud that ImpactMatters’ audit confirms the powerful impact that our projects can have, and we are excited to be at the forefront of greater transparency of impact measurement. The crossing-cutting findings in this and the three other impact audits demonstrate the importance of a rigorous, transparent accounting of impact. As TechnoServe’s core values include integrity and a commitment to results, ImpactMatters’ recommendations will help us continue to hold ourselves accountable for lasting, measurable impact.

— TechnoServe

Before publishing, we ask every nonprofit we can to review our work, offer corrections and provide a comment.

Analysis Details

Analysis conducted by ImpactMatters and published on November 22, 2019.

This rating is based on an independent audit by ImpactMatters. Using data from the audit, ImpactMatters analysts calculated impact and assigned a rating.

We welcome corrections. If you are interested in exploring applications of ImpactMatters data, contact us at

Governance Check

TechnoServe passes our governance check.

Conducted a financial audit

Overhead spending is reasonable (<35% of total spending)

Charity Navigator has not issued a fraud or mismanagement advisory

TechnoServe itself has not reported any material diversions of assets

TechnoServe itself has not reported any excess benefit transactions

Source: TechnoServe Form 990 and Charity Navigator

How We Calculate Impact

This rating is based on ImpactMatters analysis of the impact of Impulsa Tu Empresa relative to costs. Impact is the change in the social outcomes of people served by the program, net of the change that would have happened even without the program (the “counterfactual”); divided by cost. Learn more.

For Donors

A guide to our process for analyzing nonprofits and assigning ratings.

For Nonprofits

Learn about best practices for reporting impact for different program types.

For Researchers

Our collected guidelines on how we analyze impact of nonprofit programs.

Rating is a complex exercise and we urge you to read our frequently asked questions for details of how and why we issue these ratings.