Microenterprises constitute an important source of employment, and developing such enterprises is a key policy concern in most countries. But what is the most efficient tool for microenterprise development? We study this question in a developing country context (Tanzania), where microenterprises are the source of employment for more than half of the labor force, and we report from a field experiment that jointly investigated the importance of a human capital intervention (business training) and a financial capital intervention (business grant). Using data from three survey rounds, a lab experiment, and administrative records of the microfinance institution, we present evidence on business performance, management practices, happiness, business knowledge, and noncognitive abilities. Our study demonstrates strong effects of the combination of the two interventions on male entrepreneurs, while the effects on female entrepreneurs are much more muted. The results suggest that long-term finance is an important constraint for microfinance entrepreneurs, but that business training is essential to transform financial capital into productive investments. Our study also points to the need for more comprehensive measures to promote the businesses of female entrepreneurs.
Data, as supplemental material, are available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.2014.1933.
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