Female entrepreneurs in developing countries are concentrated in low productivity and informal sectors, characterized by limited growth, according to the recent World Bank report, Gender at Work. As a result they are unable to grow from micro and small enterprises into medium/large productive enterprises and contribute to national economies in a significant way. According to the ILO, 865 million women in the world have the potential to contribute more fully to their national economies and 94% (812 million) of them live in emerging and developing economies. Unlocking the potential of female entrepreneurs would lift millions out of poverty, create jobs, increase incomes, and have important spillover effects that lead to greater economic, social, and household-level outcomes.
This BBL focuses on the operational aspect of supporting women entrepreneurs. It will focus on two related questions:
Sector sorting: Women entrepreneurs are concentrated in low productivity, low growth sectors. But current WBG programs do not include a focus on supporting switching to higher productivity sectors. Going forward, should we design programs that include influencing sector choice or crossing over?
Business education: With sector sorting playing an integral role in successful business performance and generally preceding the support program, how should business education be structured to deliver maximum impact?
Gaiv Tata, Director, Financial Inclusion & Financial Infrastructure Global Practice, FPD
Mehnaz Safavian, Senior Economist, AFTFW
Sara Al Rowais, Private Sector Development Specialist, MNSF1
Francisco Moraes Leitao Campos, Economist, AFTFW
Xavier Cirera, Private Sector Development Specialist, FIEEI
Marième Esther Dassanou, Sector Lead, Gender Secretariat, IFC