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Strengthening women's entrepreneurship in Peru

The “Strengthening Women Entrepreneurship in Peru” (SWEP) project supported business training for a large number of female micro and small entrepreneurs in Peru.

The program was organized into two components, one focused on microentrepreneurs and one focused on owners of small and medium enterprises. The first of these, “Programa SALTA,” consisted of a series of large-scale training events that presented lessons in basic business skills to over 100,000 female microentrepreneurs in total. The second component, “10,000 Women” (which is part of Goldman Sachs’ global 10,000 Women program) focused on providing more intensive, longer duration interventions to women entrepreneurs of small and medium firms with growth potential. This impact evaluation reports only the results of the Salta project. 

The short group sessions (of about 3-4 hours) focused on practical methods for improving business processes, product lines, financial and human resource management, and other core capacities required for business growth. These trainings were massive events that convened around 200 women who learned about the importance of their joint role as wives, mothers, and entrepreneurs. The training sessions used videos (in “soap opera” format), games, rewards, and take-home guides. The project training target was 100,000 micro entrepreneurs in the short group sessions over the course of 500 sessions in four years.

The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the consulting firm hired to conduct the impact evaluation, designed a Randomized Control Trial (RCT) to assess the effects of the short group sessions on the women and their businesses. IFPRI developed a roster of potential beneficiaries replicating the recruiting process of APRENDA. These potential participants were randomly assigned to either a treatment group (that would receive the training immediately) or a control group (that would receive the training at the end of the evaluation period).


Main findings

  • Increase in the proportion of treated individuals who assign themselves a fixed salary. One of the business practices taught to the women micro-entrepreneurs during the training was the importance of assign themselves a fixed salary (as opposed to using working capital). The evaluation found evidence of increased uptake of this best practice among the women who received the training.  This could suggest that women who were trained now place a quantitative value on their work conceptually separating business account from personal household account.
  • Slight reduction in the number of workers (permanent and temporary) employed in the business of the trained women. Women who participated in the training reported having slightly fewer workers. The reasons behind this reduction has not been explored in the evaluation but it may be because women gained understanding of the costs and productivity of the input factors in their business, and acted to optimize productivity and revenue.
  • Increase in productivity. Despite the decline in employment, sales were maintained which led to increases in worker productivity (measured through higher ratios of sales per worker).
  • Increase in women’s employees’ salaries. There is some evidence of salary increases for trained women’s permanent employees. While the payroll did not change significantly, the reduction in the number of employees caused an increase in wages (permanent employees of the women who were trained experienced a US$ 18 monthly increase in salaries). However, it should be mentioned, that more than half of the sample did not hire any workers (for whom wages are not observed).
  • Reduction in the use of credit from informal providers for the trained women. Women who received the training borrowed less from informal providers. Neither an increase in access to formal loans was observed. Women who received the training made more conservative borrowing decisions.
  • No significant changes in sales, business value and household expenditure. This result is consistent with other evaluations of business training programs for female micro-entrepreneurs which showed no changes in business outcomes and income levels of trained women. Almost all the studies conducted in this area found that trained women start implementing some of the business practices taught by the training; but the magnitude of the impact is rather small. Few studies have found any impacts of training on sales or profitability.
  • Women micro-entrepreneurs understood the contents of the training (self-reported) and reported high levels of satisfaction with it. Most of the participants rated the training very highly, with over 50% of respondents assigning a rating of eight out of ten.
  • Application of learning. Most women trained were unable to apply all of the learned techniques to their businesses, citing lack of time as the main impediment to adopting all of the learning




Approval date: 22 September 2009
Approved amount: $3,001,436
Executing agency: MiBanco

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Read the impact evaluation

See the presentation 



Summary of the evaluations