Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs
"Female founders raise less capital from investors than male founders, even if their ventures are similar or identical. However, providing systematic evaluation frameworks could encourage investors to assess all candidates equally, thus reducing gender disparities. In this vein, the authors – Amisha Miller and Saurabh Lall – investigated whether changing systematic evaluation practices could close the gender gap in investment decisions. The authors designed and implemented a two-stage experiment in collaboration with Village Capital across different developing regions across Africa, South Asia (India), the Middle East, and Latin America to reduce gender disparities in investment decisions. The experimental findings confirm that using a systematic evaluation framework – prompting investors to consider both risks and growth, as well as progress – reduces or even reverses gender disparities in investment decisions. This study provides strong causal evidence for an intervention that can be implemented right out the gate at a low cost: providing a systematic evaluation framework to investors."
The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is the region with the lowest rates of female-owned business, as only 10% of all firms are owned by women. Increasing and promoting female entrepreneurship is therefore very important and has a high potential to broaden labour force participation and diversify the economic landscape of MENA countries. This project aims to address this issue by assessing the effectiveness of an export promotion program targeted at female-owned enterprises in Tunisia who have the objective to export to other African markets. This project update shares the methodology used to address this research question and early insights that have emerged so far.