Mentorship as a Hand Out of Poverty: Evidence from Four Countries

Grants to Support Faculty Fellows' Research
Grant Year

Urban areas of the developing world are crowded with female-owned microenterprises struggling to make a profit. Yet even in the most challenging environments, a minority of businesses prosper. Can these entrepreneurs, which have learned to thrive in arduous circumstances, transfer what they have learned to a woman running a similar small business in the same environment? We study a very simple intervention: making a connections between successful, female business owners and new female entrepreneurs. These pairs meet regularly to discuss business, and we study their outcomes. The benefit of this intervention is that it makes use of the local knowledge that the mentors already have within the communities, and may therefore be scalable to a variety of contexts around the world. Building on previous work in Kenya, this project studies mentorship in four different countries: Ghana, The Philippines, Kenya and Peru. We will see if this intervention is effective in different contexts, and measure effects on income, social networks, aspirations, and broader measures of well-being.

Partners: Holy Cross Parish (Dandora, Nairobi, Kenya), Holy Cross Institute for the Family (INFAM), and Mentors International