Policy Lessons on Supporting Women Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurship can be a pathway to employment and economic empowerment for women. Over half of the women in developing countries are or aspire to be entrepreneurs, but most of them run subsistence oriented micro-businesses that are not seen as key drivers of innovation and growth. Among formal firms, the share of women-led businesses decreases as the size of the firm increases. Multiple factors—including lack of skills, networks, and access to finance, technology, and markets—constrain women’s decision to become entrepreneurs and affect their choices concerning which sector to enter, how much to put into their firms, and which business practices and technology to adopt. Contextual factors, such as social norms, access to childcare, and risk of gender-based violence, also contribute to the gender gap in firm performance documented by the Africa GIL and the EAP GIL. The GIL Federation is generating rigorous evidence around the world to understand what works, and what does not, in addressing the differential constraints restricting the growth of women-led firms. This note presents evidence on five key findings.