Research project to examine the impact of business training and capital grants on existing and potential female enterprises.

Survey of over 600 current female enterprise owners and over 600 unemployed but potential self-employed females in 10 Divisional Secretariat divisions in 7 districts in Jan 2009. This consisted of a business training and capital grants intervention programme to randomly selected participants - including running an individual-level awareness of offer, coordinating with external business consulting firm in running ILO developed business training modules, payment of capital grants to selected participants.

Four follow-up surveys in Sep 2009, Jan 2010, Sep 2010, Jun 2011 were also carried out.


Research Publications

“Business Training and Female Enterprise Start-up, Growth and Dynamics: Experimental Evidence from Sri Lanka”

We conducted a randomized experiment among women in urban Sri Lanka to measure the impact of the most commonly used business training course in developing countries, the Start-and-Improve Your Business (SIYB) program. We studied two groups of women: a random sample operating subsistence enterprises and a random sample out of the labour force but interested in starting a business.

We tracked impacts of two treatments – training only and training plus a cash grant – over two years. For women in business, training changes business practices but has no impact on business profits, sales or capital stock. The grant plus training combination increases business profitability in the first eight months, but this impact dissipates in the second year. Among potential start-ups, business training hastens entry – without changing longer-term ownership rates – and increases profitability. We conclude that training may be more effective for new owners.

Published in Journal of Development Economics, Vol. 106, January 2014, pp. 199-210.

A previous version of this paper is available as IZA Discussion Paper No 6896, October 2012. (downloadable from