This project will offer three interventions: an e-learning entrepreneurship app for smartphones, virtual interaction in chat rooms for half of those assigned to receive the app, and in-person business training covering the same content as the app.
The e-learning app has been developed by an international company which is a pioneer in mobile learning. The app is based on material used in preparatory courses for MBA programs, which has been adapted to the needs of Ethiopian women business-owners. The content of the app aims to fill a gap at the higher end of business education, with a focus on slightly more advanced learning for successful entrepreneurs in comparison to the material offered by ‘traditional’ training courses. One distinctive feature of the app is a ‘gamified’, interactive experience that has the user work through a series of small problems rather than retain information from video lectures or readings. This interactive, gamified, feature might help motivate participation and reduce the risks of low usage (see Lafortune et al. 2022 for an RCT testing a gamified e-learning entrepreneurship program for students in Rwandan schools).
The networking intervention will be offered to a random set of women who get access to the app. They will be invited to participate in Telegram groups of 25 training participants (mimicking the standard group size of in-person training) and smaller groups of 5 training participants (mimicking small-group exercises within in-person training). To foster interaction, each week a moderator will send a motivation question across all groups related to the material covered in the modules of the app. This will be the only role of the moderator, in order to make the intervention as cheap and scalable as possible.
Finally, the in-person training has been designed by a local training provider with experience on business training. The course includes 6 weekly sessions, covering two modules per week, in central locations in Addis Ababa, in groups of 25 participants. The material follows closely the modules discussed in the app.