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About STEP

STEP develops young people’s skills, knowledge, and confidence to pursue an entrepreneurial career. In the 12-week training, the students learn step-by-step to start their own businesses. This provides them with an effective means of creating jobs for themselves and other people in the community.

STEP provides an answer to adverse labor market conditions and limited employment opportunities. STEP students learn to create their own jobs by starting and running a business. A key benefit is that the students learn to take charge of their professional future. Through the training, the students become more proactive and independent, which supports them in overcoming the extreme unemployment rates among youths and the challenging job market conditions they are facing. Unemployment and poverty are inextricably intertwined. This is the point where STEP seeks to make a difference.


The approach by STEP is supported by researchers and politicians alike. Politicians and researchers ranked fostering entrepreneurship among the top priorities of their agendas to alleviate poverty. Entrepreneurship is a main driver of economic development and wealth creation. Entrepreneurs have the potential to boost the economy and contribute substantially to new job creation. Against this background, entrepreneurship training, such as STEP, is a main leverage for a successful bottom-up strategy to increase the number of entrepreneurs and accomplish politicians’ agenda.


The Student Training for Entrepreneurial Promotion (STEP) is an entrepreneurship training program which has been successfully implemented around the globe. Doorways is a certified provider for STEP


How Everything Started

The STEP project was founded in 2006 by Prof. Dr. Michael Frese and his team from Leuphana University of Lüneburg in cooperation with Makerere University Business School and Uganda Christian University (Uganda).
The first training was conducted in 2009 at Makerere University and Uganda Christian University in Uganda. From these two universities, 200 students formed the first cohort to ever attend a STEP training. The evaluation of the first training showed significant short- and long-term effects on all factors important for entrepreneurship. Based on the positive results, the STEP training was implemented at universities in Liberia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Rwanda. In subsequent years, STEP was extended to further educational institutions, such as vocational training institutes and secondary schools, as well as to further regions, such as South-East Asia (e.g., the Philippines) and Latin America (e.g., Mexico).
Evaluations in each country have shown that the STEP training has a significant impact on business and job creation. STEP thus contributes to poverty alleviation and job creation on different educational levels and in different regions across the globe.




STEP is Locally Embedded

STEP is tailored to local needs and conducted by local trainers

STEP is Scientifically Evaluated

STEP is evaluated according to highest scientific standards and shows positive short- and long-term effects

STEP is Evidence-Based

The content is based on research on entrepreneurial success factors

STEP is Action-Oriented

Trainees start their own businesses and are learning by doing

Each time STEP is implemented a new institution, we aim to conduct randomized controlled trials (RCT) with a training group and a control group. A comparison of the pre-training measurement with post-training measurements enables to assess the impact of STEP. The findings support that STEP enhances students’ intentions to start a business, the confidence in their entrepreneurial skills, their knowledge about how to start a business, and their action planning for starting a new business.

STEP students learn entrepreneurship on the basis of action principles. The STEP action principles have been derived from the scientific literature on entrepreneurship, management, and psychology. They are science-based „rules of thumb“ that provide practical knowledge guiding students what to and how to do it to accomplish the start-up process. STEP is also evidence-based with regard to the didactical approach. STEP is rooted in action regulation theory and the result of our long-standing experience in training and entrepreneurship research in countries with adverse job market conditions and high youth unemployment.

STEP was developed in cooperation with scholars from Makerere University, Makerere University Business School, Uganda Christian University, and Kyambogo University in Uganda. With every new implementation, the STEP content is adapted to the local context by members of the local institution. The training sessions are conducted by local lecturers who receive a three-day train-the trainer workshop to become certified STEP trainers. The workshops are led by a team of STEP master trainers and in each workshop, up to 12 new STEP trainers are instructed on the methodology of STEP.

STEP students form teams and engage in the start-up process of a real micro business during the training. They proceed through the entire entrepreneurial process from preparing to launching and managing a real business. This involves that they identify and evaluate new business opportunities, acquire equipment and raw materials, deal with suppliers, and enter the market to offer their product or service to real customers. The students thus take an active role and learn entrepreneurship „on-the-job“. They experience becoming an entrepreneur under real business conditions. They receive real-life feedback and develop a better understanding of the tasks and challenges of an entrepreneur. This is key to develop a feeling of true mastery of entrepreneurship, a belief of „I can do it“.

Implementation Process 

An effective procedure to facilitate the long-term implementation of STEP at international partner institutions is depicted here. In a three-year project, the partner institutions are prepared to organize and run STEP, secure the financial resources to sustain STEP, and institutionalize STEP as part of their academic program.


In the first year, STEP is introduced, implemented, and evaluated to demonstrate its beneficial effects on students‘ entrepreneurial behavior.

In the second year, the partner institution assumes responsibility for organizing and implementing STEP. The partner institution also starts securing funding and the administrative procedures to include STEP in the regular curriculum of one or more programs of study.

In the third year, the partner institution independently organizes the training and decides about the institutionalization of STEP in their academic program.




Get in Touch

+49 4134 9099726

Wiesenweg 2

21406 Barnstedt

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+49 4134 9099726

Wiesenweg 2

21406 Barnstedt

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