Empowering women entrepreneurs through Personal Initiative training and grant provisions in the DRC

Last registered on December 22, 2022


Trial Information

General Information

Empowering women entrepreneurs through Personal Initiative training and grant provisions in the DRC
Initial registration date
March 08, 2021

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
March 09, 2021, 6:22 AM EST

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Last updated
December 22, 2022, 4:20 PM EST

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.


Primary Investigator

The World Bank

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
The World Bank
PI Affiliation
The World Bank
PI Affiliation
Leuphana University of Lueneburg

Additional Trial Information

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
The proposed evaluation will examine the impact of a psychology-based entrepreneurship training, attended with and without a spouse, and in-kind grants on women-owned micro and small enterprises in the DRC. Treatment arms will include (i) Personal Initiative training for women and (ii) Personal Initiative training for women and their husbands , each cross-randomized with grants. These interventions are designed to relax multiple constraints faced by women entrepreneurs including capital, skills, and household level inefficiencies influenced by gender norms.

The study aims to answer the following questions:
• Does a psychology-based business training focused on the entrepreneurial mindset increase the profits of women entrepreneurs in the DRC?
• Does inviting the entrepreneur’s husband to the psychology-based training improve outcomes of the training for women’s businesses and household-level economic outcomes?
• Does complementing training with a grant help compound the impacts of the training?
• Does complementing a grant with a psychology-based business training help compound the impacts of the grant?

The main outcomes of interest include firm performance, intra-household dynamics, and women’s empowerment. The interventions evaluated are components of the DRC SME Development and Growth Project which is implemented by the Government of the DRC, with support from the World Bank.

External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Frese, Michael et al. 2022. "Empowering women entrepreneurs through Personal Initiative training and grant provisions in the DRC." AEA RCT Registry. December 22. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.7312-1.1
Experimental Details


Personal Initiative Training
Personal Initiative (PI) is defined as self-starting, future-oriented, and persistent proactive behavior (Fay and Frese, 2001). PI training follows an interactive, action-oriented methodology that allows participants to learn by doing and to immediately apply the content during the training. PI training does not transfer business knowledge, but practical rules of thumb based on scientific evidence. The training for this intervention will be carried out for a total of 36 hours, broken down into 12 sessions of approximately 3 hours in length.

Couples PI Training
In addition to the training group that will receive the PI training, another group of women will receive the training together with their husbands. The training for the couples will include additional components concerning the interactions and cooperation between husband and wife. The Couples PI training will have as many hours as the regular PI training, meaning it will be delivered in 12 sessions of approximately 3 hours in length. However, while conveying the PI content, the trainers will pay attention to joint decision-making and shared responsibility between wife and husband. Class sizes will be reduced to approximately 12-13 female entrepreneurs to ensure that joint class sizes with both husbands and wives will be comparable to those in the standard PI training group. All participants in the training groups (PIT and couples PIT) will receive post-training interventions in the form of booster sessions for approximately 6 months after the training to reinforce training content and maximize long term effects.

In-Kind Grants
Once the PI training program is complete, half of the women from each experimental arm will be randomly selected to receive a grant. All selected women will receive help to prepare a basic business plan and their submitted business proposals will be automatically eligible to receive in-kind grants. The size of the grant offered will be the same for all entrepreneurs - it will range from 1000 to 5000 USD depending on budget considerations.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Business performance, profitability and sales; business practices, error competence (ability to recover from errors), personal initiative, innovation, product diversification, borrowing and investment, capital and labor inputs, access to finance.
Primary outcomes are measured for primary beneficiaries (women) and their husbands.
Individual level indicators: socio-emotional skills, agency, household welfare, time allocation, sharing of housework.
Intra-household indicators: bargaining power, decision-making.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The interventions described above will be evaluated using a randomized controlled trial (RCT). Among eligible registered female entrepreneurs:
• 3600 will be randomly selected for the impact evaluation and baseline data collection (1800 in each city).
• We will have two groups of women: Group A includes women who are either not married, not interested in inviting their husband or whose husband did not complete the baseline survey, while Group B includes married women who report interest in inviting their husband to the training and whose husband completed the baseline survey.
• Group A women will be randomly allocated to PI training or to a control group through lottery A.
• Group B women will be randomly allocated to one of two treatment arms (PI training or Couples PI) or to a control group through lottery B.
• Allocation to training arms satisfies two conditions: 1) 2400 women are assigned to any training (number of training beneficiaries defined by the project), 2) the ratio of control to treatment women is the same for each treatment arm in lottery A and lottery B.
• Half of the women from each group above (for a total of 1800) will be randomly selected to develop and submit business plans in order to receive in-kind grants.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Separate public lotteries (by registration site) will be held to assign individuals to i) PI training (alone or with spouse), and ii) in-kind grants.
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
3,600 women entrepreneurs
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
1,774 in Standard PI (1147 lottery A, 627 lottery B)
626 in Couples PI training
1,204 in control (779 lottery A, 425 lottery B)

Approximately half of each group will then be selected to participate in the business plan competition to receive business grants.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Institut National de la Statistique
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


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Program Files

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