Inclusive international trade: Assisting female-led firms in export development

While many lower- and middle-income countries aim to grow and diversify their exports, enabling small- and medium-sized firms to export and enter global value chains remains a key challenge. This is particularly true for female-led firms. These only make up 5-10% of all firms in the MENA region and overall less than 20% in other parts of the Global South.

So far, there is little evidence on which measures can improve the integration of female-led firms into global value chains. This project aims to fill this evidence gap by rigorously assessing the impact of export consortia on the export performance of female-led small and mid-sized enterprises in Tunisia through a randomised controlled trial.

Forming consortia is a way of reducing the fixed cost of exporting by pooling resources, sharing risk and potentially even selling products together under the same brand. Closely collaborating with other firms broadens your business network, which is considered a key success factor.

To rigorously measure the impact of the programme, up to 160 eligible firms will be randomly allocated into treatment and control groups. The firms in the treatment group will receive 23 months of technical assistance for the formation of the consortia.

The impact on export performance and intermediate outcomes, such as business network size or behavioural changes, will be measured through three surveys. Administrative data will be used to complement export performance data.


  • Research in progress.

    Project last updated on: 22 Nov 2021.