This study has gathered evidence through two sets of primary data that can be characterised as follows:

The first set of primary data was provided by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (or Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland, RVO). It comprises three sub-data sets, building on five years of experience of implementation in contexts of fragility through its PSI+ programme in the period 2009–14, which resulted in 125 successful PSI+ applications in up to 10 countries:[110]
two workshops organised at the Clingendael Institute on 10 April 2014 and at RVO on 25 November 2014, drawing on the perceptions and anecdotes of RVO country fund managers, based on their experiences in the 10 PSI+ countries;
interviews with 14 PSI+ clients and their respective local partner businesses in 4 PSI+ countries (Afghanistan, Burundi, Pakistan and the Palestinian Territories) capturing their perceptions on the interaction between their businesses and the broader environment. Interviews were conducted by RVO country fund managers in the first half of 2014; and
a random selection of security risk assessments extracted from the regular applications submitted by PSI+ applicants, covering 112 successful applications in eight PSI+ countries (Afghanistan, Burundi, the DRC, Iraq, the Palestinian Territories, Sierra Leone and South Sudan) over the period 2009–14.
The second set of primary data was provided by OnFrontiers in close cooperation with Building Markets. It consists of two sub-data sets, based on fieldwork in five countries (Afghanistan, Pakistan, the DRC, Sierra Leone and South Sudan):
a survey of 48 businesses across the countries surveyed, distributed as follows: Afghanistan (10), Pakistan (11), the DRC (10), Sierra Leone (8) and South Sudan (9).

The business sample was stratified according to:

Economic sector: about two-thirds of the businesses are operating predominantly in the tertiary sector (67%), with the other businesses fairly equally distributed over the primary (15%) and secondary sector (19%).

Size: the average number and number of full-time employees of the businesses is 28, with a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 300.

Location: all of the businesses are located in urban areas, the large majority in and around the capital city (90%).

Ownership: more than three-quarters of the businesses are locally owned (77%).

Gender: just over one-third of the businesses are owned by women (38%).

semi-structured interviews with two locally-based experts in each of the five countries surveyed.
The RVO list of countries that are eligible for the PSI+ programme has been subject to change in the period 2009–14. In 2014 the list included Afghanistan, Burundi, the DRC, Guatemala, Iraq, Pakistan, the Palestinian Territories, Sierra Leone and South Sudan.