A 30-hour training programme combining hard and soft skills content isn’t enough to lead to persistent effects on the entrepreneurs’ mindset and business performance.
A 30-hour training programme covering both technology and traditional business skills is offered for free to women-led microbusinesses. The training is delivered by young university graduates.
- To build hard and soft entrepreneurship skills
- To boost firm performance
Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT)
This intervention is tested as part of the World Bank’s Women Entrepreneurship Development Project (WEDP), which provides loans and entrepreneurship training to growth-oriented female entrepreneurs.
Urban and growth-oriented women entrepreneurs. The average age of participants is 33 and about 70 per cent have completed secondary or tertiary education.
The average age of the businesses they run is six years. The average number of employees is about 1.5. The main sectors that businesses operate in are retail (50 per cent), food and drink services (20 per cent) and beauty salons (7 per cent).
The training is delivered in half-day sessions for a total of 30 hours over a period of 10 to 15 days. The sessions cover basic technology and traditional business skills, as well as modules aimed at boosting the participants’ self-esteem and entrepreneurial spirit. The training emphasises setting goals, developing plans to reach those goals and using innovative approaches; along with a strong focus on developing one’s own approach as a firm owner rather than just emulating others.
The training is delivered by young university graduates, who are trained for three weeks to gain the necessary skills.
- Being offered the training didn’t lead to greater adoption of recommended business practices like record-keeping, marketing, stock control and financial planning practices or higher business survival two years after the training.
- The training had short-term effects on personal initiative and self-efficacy: training participants were more motivated to improve their businesses and more confident in their abilities to manage their businesses and overcome the potential problems that they might encounter.
- The increase in entrepreneurial mindset traits disappeared two years after the training and was replaced by a decrease in the participants’ entrepreneurial identity.
- Firms that were offered the training had 30 per cent higher profits one year after the training, but again this effect disappeared within two years.
- A 30-hour training programme combining hard and soft skills content isn’t enough to lead to persistent effects on women entrepreneurs’ mindset and business performance.