This study evaluates the impacts of a business training program serving female microentrepreneurs in Lima that have previously benefited with the titling of their urban parcels. The intervention included personal development, business management and productive skills, aiming at empowering women so that they improve the control of their lives, their access to credit, their business practices, which in turn would increase the income and welfare of their families. 1983 eligible women were randomly allocated to treatment (2) and control groups. Women in the two treatment groups (1416) were offered business training in 36 three-hour sessions over approximately 12 weeks (regular training). In addition, half of them were offered an individualized support in the form of technical assistance (TA) over a period of three extra months. A baseline survey was applied before randomization and a follow-up survey about four months after the end of the treatment (about 12 months since the beginning of treatment). We find that women assigned to treatment indeed made some important adjustments in their business practices according to the training, although they differ depending on the type of treatment received. Those that received only regular training were more prone to close losing businesses. In turn, those that also received TA, were more prone to plan and execute innovations, as well as to increase their association with business peers and its use of informal credit sources. Furthermore, such innovations led to an increase in sales of at least 18%. These results have a clear policy implication: transmitting general good business practices may be cheaper and more scalable, but we need to include specific advice to help female microentrepreneurs grow. Both, business income and practices effects accrue among those with relatively larger businesses, suggesting the existence of a threshold above which this kind of business training can help. Lack of strong effects on the participation of women in key decisions and attitudes towards gender relations suggest the need to strengthen the personal development module, but such adjustment needs to take into account that time is a scarce resource for female microentrepreneurs as they need to share their time between their businesses and their traditional responsibilities with household chores.
A vast multitude of variables were collected across the following categories: Business practices and business results. Family participation in beneficiary's main business. Access to credit. Women's participation in key business and home decisions. Attitudes towards women's economic roles and entrepreneurship.
The timing of the follow-up only permits inferences to be made in the short run, as we do not know whether this intervention would have permanent impacts. Business practices and results: Full treatment lead to sizable increases in sales. Those that received the regular training were more prone to close their businesses when they realised they were losing money. Those that received more specialised business advice moved toward planning and executing innovations to improve business and increased collaboration with peers. Empowerment of the female microentrepreneur: No significant effects. Time use by household members: No significant effects.