Is there a mindset gap holding women back in business? Can entrepreneurship training instill a set of attitudes, behaviors, and strategies that are thought to underpin success in business such as motivation, perseverance, and self-confidence? This study conducted two randomized controlled trials to evaluate the effect of mindset-oriented business trainings on the performance of women-owned micro and small enterprises in Ethiopia. The trainings were underpinned by psychology with a mission to foster self-esteem and entrepreneurial spirit. Despite a similar approach, however, the quality of delivery seemed to matter as impacts of the trainings on business performance were mixed. A key channel for an impact on profits is if the training can actually effectuate the mindset change, with only one training transferring higher levels of entrepreneurial self-efficacy, personal initiative, and entrepreneurial locus of control to the women, relative to a control group. The study finds suggestive evidence that psychological skills and mindset are better inspired by a trainer who previously owned a business themselves and therefore may have a better understanding of the entrepreneurs'specific challenges. The study concludes that psychological skills are important for women's business success, and these skills can indeed be transferred using training, assuming a shared identity match between trainer and student. Service delivery appears to be critical for inculcating these important skills.
Psychological outcomes (e.g. personal initiative, self-efficacy, error competence, entrepreneurial identity and locus of control) and business practices.
One year and a half after the training, none of the training schemes led to higher business knowledge nor to a more proactive mindset among trainees, compared to those that did not receive any training. None of the training had an impact on the adoption of recommended business practices, nor on business performance in terms of survival, employment, revenue or profits.