Women's Leadership in Small and Medium Enterprises (WLSME) is a trust fund partnership with USAID that aims to promote and increase the entry and growth of women-owned and managed small and medium enterprises. It supports rigorous evaluations of innovative interventions designed to help growth orientated male and female entrepreneurs in 12 countries. Training is often proposed as a way to support women entrepreneurs grow their businesses and make them more profitable. But evaluations have shown mixed results from training programs, especially for female entrepreneurs. This event presents findings from evaluations of training programs in Peru and Mexico, which have experimented with new approaches to training female entrepreneurs.
Previous work has shown that business training for female micro entrepreneurs in Peru had little or no impact on key outcomes such as business revenue, profits or employment. Martin Valdivia of Grupo de Analisis para el Desarrollo (GRADE) presents results from an innovative intervention in Peru that aims to identify effective alternatives to training. He evaluates whether an intervention fostering business networks for female entrepreneurs can replace the business advisor in helping diagnose problems, plan and implement innovations and lead to increased revenues and profits. World Bank Senior Economist Leonardo Iacovone focuses on the question of whether a soft-skills component can add value to traditional business training. He presents preliminary findings from a pilot implemented by an entrepreneurship center in Mexico for female entrepreneurs in urban and semi-rural areas. The intervention combines traditional managerial training with an additional component of "soft skills" training which focuses on enhancing personal effectiveness. It evaluates the impact of the program on two different populations -- one composed of "average" entrepreneurs and the other composed of "self-selected" entrepreneurs who heard about the program and approached the entrepreneurship center.
Wade Channell, Senior Economic Growth Advisor for Gender, Office of Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment, United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
Martin Valdivia, Grupo de Analisis para el Desarrollo (GRADE)
Leonardo Iacovone, Senior Economist, Trade & Competitiveness Global Practice, World Bank
Caren Grown, Senior Director for Gender, World Bank