Empowering Women Entrepreneurs in Developing Countries: Why current programs fall short – Brookings (2019)

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Africa Growth Initiative at Brookings, 2019 – 9 pages

Current WEE interventions are not enough to overcome all obstacles facing female entrepreneurs. The emerging evidence from psychology and experimental economics on agency; mind-set, and leadership show that for successful interventions to be transformative, they need to move beyond basic access to financial and human capital and tackle central psychological, social, and skills constraints on women entrepreneurs.

Main implications for policy and practice:

  • Providing business skills training is a basic step toward empowering women entrepreneurs, but to truly achieve transformative change, training programmes need to address deeper psychological and social constraints facing women.
  • Similarly, financial access, while a basic step in WEE, cannot alone help grow subsistence enterprises owned by women who face multiple binding constraints.
  • Finally, a clear measure of success is important.