Providing Training and Technical Assistance to Support Female Entrepreneurs
The Women’s Leadership in Small and Medium Enterprises (WLSME) project built the human, social, and financial capital of growth-oriented female entrepreneurs in the garments, tourism, and agroprocessing industries of Kyrgyzstan. The program was part of a broader, global initiative by USAID to understand the factors that lead to the growth of women-owned SMEs, with similar programs implemented in Peru and India. To advance the field through evidence-based findings, the WLSME projects had a rigorous research agenda, used randomized control trials, an independent third-party evaluation with endline evaluations conducted up to two years after interventions close, and a robust learning community between the programs.
ACDI/VOCA was the lead implementer of the three-year WLSME Kyrgyzstan program, with support from subs Bai Tushum Bank Innovative Fund and several local, community-based nonprofit organizations.
Reduce the barriers to human capital, social capital, and information that limit the growth of women’s enterprises
Activities and Approaches
- Through a graduated level of intensity in support, the multistage intervention provided participants with
- Stage 1: a foundational, multimodule business management course
- Stage 2: a series of networking and social capital building events
- Stage 3: for a subset of participants—identified as having high-growth potential through a business plan competition—more intensive technical assistance (e.g., consultancy, group technical trainings, exchange visits, micro-grants, mentoring, etc.)
- Facilitated participants’ access to an SME loan at a preferential interest rate
- 620 women completed the business management training package
- More than 400 women engaged in networking, mentoring, and industry linkages events and programs
- 100 women entrepreneurs were selected in the business planning competition, from a pool of over 300 applicants, and received specialized technical assistance
- Five how-to brochures produced on business registration, taxation, social fund payments, patents, and tax inspection visits
Funder: Women’s Leadership in Small and Medium Enterprises (WLSME)
Contact: Rebekah Bakewicz, firstname.lastname@example.org