Stronger Together: Promoting Export through Female-only SME Consortia in Tunisia

Last registered on March 13, 2023


Trial Information

General Information

Stronger Together: Promoting Export through Female-only SME Consortia in Tunisia
Initial registration date
March 07, 2023

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 13, 2023, 3:03 PM EDT

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


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Primary Investigator

TU Berlin

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
TU Berlin
PI Affiliation
MSB Tunis

Additional Trial Information

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Exporting provides business opportunities with high return but only the most productive companies, which are predominantly owned and managed by men, overcome the fixed costs of exporting. Exporting is particularly difficult as it requires high managerial knowledge and skills as well as the network and confidence to create international contacts, all of which female entrepreneurs tend to lack. We test an intervention that tackles these various problems at a time. Export-interested female entrepreneurs in complementary sectors receive support to establish a consortium, a legally connected group of firms, to cooperate in exporting their products abroad over two years. Simultaneously, the firms receive individual and consortia-level consultancy regarding their export strategy. The consortia provide the women with a new business network disconnected from family structures, contacts to exchange about common business challenges and strategies to succeed as a female entrepreneur in international markets as well as the legal framework to collectivize the fixed costs of exporting. At one and two years post the start of the intervention, we measure effects on women's business empowerment, network size and quality, business, management and export practices as well as their export performance.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Bouziri, Amira, Florian Münch and Fabian Scheifele. 2023. "Stronger Together: Promoting Export through Female-only SME Consortia in Tunisia." AEA RCT Registry. March 13.
Experimental Details


The intervention is implemented in two periods over a total period of 18 months. The first period is dedicated to the construction and formation of the export consortium and lasts for 5-6 months. For this purpose, the team of consultants and stuff from political partners invite all the four groups of participants to 8 workshops, a Slack platform for communication and content sharing, and 2 networking events. Each workshop takes place in a hotel in the capital Tunis and participants are offered accommodation (but no mobility support). The workshops cover the following topics:

1. Female entrepreneurs conquering Africa

2. Female-female cooperation: an opportunity

3. Female consortium: choice of a legal format

4. First networking event

5. Consortium organisation

6. Export strategy and action plan

7. Internal consortium operations

8. Action plan to build and maintain a professional network

9. Second networking event

The second period is dedicated to developing the consortium and its export activities and lasts for 12 months. In the first four months, the consultants will work with the consortiums and the firms to develop export plans for each consortium and each company. In the following eight month, the consultants and project stuff work with the consortium and its members on two axes: 1) consultancy, coaching, workshops for entrepreneurship and export, 2) administrative and logistic support for consortium development, e.g. related to recruitment of a consortium coordinator (first consortium specific job), policy for recruitment of new members (cannot come from control group) and internal organization of consortium in work committees.

The first period and second period each add up to a total of at least 80 hours (total 160 hours) of support and interaction from consultants and project stuff.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Export performance, export readiness, and export investment.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
For details, see the pre-analysis plan.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Entrepreneurial empowerment, network compositions, size, and quality as well as cooperativeness, management practices, innovation, and business performance (total sales, profits, number of employees).
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
For details, see the pre-analysis plan.

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
87 eligible female-led firms are randomly allocated into one of the four-sector specific export consortia and 89 are allocated into a control group.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Stratified randomization in Stata.
Randomization Unit
Firm. We conduct firm-level stratified randomization using STATA. We stratify first by one of the four sectors (agro-food, handicraft and cosmetics, services, and ITC), rank them according to their group of sales, and then form quadruplets of firms with similar export sales given export is the primary outcome and export sales exhibit very high variance. In addition, we put outlier firms with extremely high sales values into separate strata.
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
167 firms.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
87 in treatment, 89 in control.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
see pre-analysis plan.

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
South Mediterranean University (SMU) Ethics Comittee
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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