The World Bank Enterprise Surveys (WBES)

Published On: March 26, 2024Categories:

Client: The World Bank Group

Since 2018, Kapa Research has joined forces with the World Bank Group to conduct over 20,000 enterprise-level surveys across 20 countries. This collaboration has been instrumental in providing invaluable insights into the global business landscape across diverse economic and political contexts.

WBES represent a gold standard in nationally representative firm-level surveys. Top managers and business owners are interviewed using a globally comparable questionnaire, offering comprehensive coverage of various business environment aspects, alongside firm characteristics and performance metrics. 

The findings and recommendations derived from WBES empower policymakers to identify, prioritize, and implement reforms for efficient private sector activity Key research topics include firm performance and job creation, legal gender parity for entrepreneurs and workers, informality, and export performance.

Project Overview

The World Bank Group’s flagship Business Ready project is a key instrument in their new strategy to facilitate private investment, generate employment, and improve productivity, aiming to help countries accelerate inclusive and sustainable development and make each country’s economic environment ready for a dynamic private sector.

Business Ready builds upon the World Bank Group’s earlier Doing Business project, offering a more balanced and transparent approach to evaluating a country’s business and investment climate, striving to establish a better balance between ease of doing business and the broader social implications. The project also assigns a more positive role for governments, advocating for improved public services that benefit businesses.

In addition to expert assessments, Business Ready incorporates direct feedback from entrepreneurs and managers about their experiences navigating the business environment. The project focuses on 10 key topics that encompass the entire lifecycle of a firm, from starting operations to ongoing operations and potential closure or restructuring. These topics include:

Over the next three years, the project will grow to cover about 180 economies worldwide annually, starting with 54 economies in 2023-24, 120 economies in 2024-25, and reaching 180 economies in 2025-26.


The 2023 World Bank Enterprise Surveys is a large-scale business establishment-level data collection & panel management project whose main objective is to explore how firms perceive business environment of the economy they operate in and, thereby, to offer datasets as inputs for evidence-based policy design, promoting policy dialogue on private sector inclusive growth, and enriching the relative reform agenda.

The surveys use the benchmarking, analytical tools and indicators produced by the World Bank’s Enterprise Analysis Unit over the years, and therefore is conducted in accordance with the research/sampling methodology of the World Bank Enterprise Surveys.

The use value of the produced datasets comprises benchmarking/tracking specific business environment indicators that are internationally comparable, measuring specific firm/establishment-level performance indicators, and assessing resource efficiency indicators and constraints to private-sector growth.

In addition, this Enterprise Survey project provides quantitative information – and logistical support, through managing the remuneration of its experts – to the World Bank’s novel Business Ready (B-READY) flagship project, and facilitates building a longitudinal panel dataset, allowing the analysis of time series data regarding business environment, firm performance, and multiple other indicators.

Specifically, for the 13 economies under study in the assignment overall, a total of approximately 8,090 1-hour interviews with top managers (CEOs, HR managers, CFOs, and/or Accountants) of specified private firms in these countries are being conducted via mixed-mode data collection, Face-to-face (F2F) and Video-conference Interviews (VCI), using Survey Solutions CAPI.

Our Involvement 

  • Screening of Sampling Frame: Identifying and screening business establishments in each economy.

  • Translation Services: Translating questionnaires and survey materials to ensure linguistic accessibility.

  • Questionnaire and CAPI Testing: Rigorous testing of survey questionnaires and Computer-Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI) instruments to ensure functionality and flow.

  • Sample Recruitment Strategy: Designing and implementing optimal sample recruitment strategies tailored to each country.

  • Survey Staff Recruitment & Training: Recruiting and training survey staff to ensure proficiency and consistency in data collection methods. This included extensive workshops covering questionnaire comprehension, task workflow, and interview techniques.

  • Follow-up with Firms: Contacting previously interviewed firms to document current operating status.

  • Pilot Survey Implementation: Conducting pilot surveys to refine methodologies and ensure data accuracy.

  • Sample Recruitment and Screening: Identifying and scheduling interviews with eligible respondents.

  • Data Collection: Conducting interviews and gathering data in accordance with established protocols.

  • Fieldwork Monitoring: Monitoring fieldwork progress and providing regular progress reports.

  • Data Quality Control: Implementing rigorous quality control measures to maintain data integrity.

  • Data Preparation and Delivery: Preparing datasets and delivering them in a timely manner.

  • Country Profiles Dissemination: Disseminating country profiles to stakeholders and interested parties.

18 countries  – 11.575 firms

Bosnia and Herzegovina – 360 firms

Bulgaria – 720 firms

Canada – 1,350 firms

Colombia – 920 firms

Croatia – 480 firms

Czech Republic – 480 firms

Estonia – 360 firms

Greece – 600 firms

Hungary – 870 firms

Latvia – 360 firms

Montenegro – 150 firms

North Macedonia – 360 firms

Paraguay – 385 firms

Poland – 1200 firms

Portugal – 100 firms

Romania – 960 firms

Slovak Republic – 480 firms

United Kingdom – 1440 firms

Bosnia and Herzegovina - 360 firms
Bulgaria - 720 firms
Canada - 1,350 firms
Colombia - 920 firms
Croatia - 480 firms
Czech Republic - 480 firms
Estonia - 360 firms
Greece - 600 firms
Hungary - 870 firms
Latvia - 360 firms
Montenegro - 150 firms
North Macedonia - 360 firms
Paraguay - 385 firms
Poland – 1200 firms
Portugal – 100 firms
Romania – 960 firms
Slovak Republic – 480 firms
United Kingdom – 1440 firms


The World Bank Enterprise Survey is pivotal in decoding the inner workings of a nation’s private sector. Covering a diverse array of registered establishments with 5 or more employees, excluding agricultural and extractive sectors, the survey ensures a robust representation across industries.

Through face-to-face interviews, involving business owners, top managers, and key personnel like accountants and human resource managers, nuanced insights are garnered on various aspects including access to finance, corruption, infrastructure, and competition. The scale of interviews, ranging from 150 to 1800 depending on the economy’s size, facilitates a thorough examination of economic nuances.

Structured around two instruments—the Manufacturing and Services Questionnaires—the survey navigates through a wide spectrum of topics, including firm characteristics, access to finance, workforce composition, infrastructure, and performance measures. With over 90% of questions objectively assessing the business environment, supplemented by qualitative insights into obstacles hindering firm growth, a comprehensive understanding of economic dynamics is attained.


Focused primarily on the manufacturing and services sectors, the survey’s relevance to economic analysis is underscored by its coverage of industries classified with ISIC codes 10-33, 41-43, 45-47, 49-53, 55-56, 58, 61-62, 69-75, 79, and 95 (ISIC Rev.4). By excluding firms with 100% government/state ownership, the survey maintains impartiality and context-driven relevance.

Transparency & Data Integrity

In partnership with business organizations and government agencies, the survey places a premium on confidentiality, vital for building trust and ensuring maximum participation. Moreover, as a safeguard for data integrity, transparency is paramount. Raw data, scores, and calculations are publicly available on the project website, fostering replicability and accountability. This commitment to transparency not only enhances the survey’s credibility but also fosters an environment conducive to evidence-based policymaking and institutional reforms.