Country
Sri Lanka

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"Small and medium-sized enterprises make up a large part of Sri Lanka's economy, with over one million SMEs accounting for approximately 75 percent of all businesses. These are found in all sectors of the economy and are estimated to contribute about 45 percent of total employment in Sri Lanka. Women's ownership of formal small and medium-sized enterprises is low, at around 25 percent of all SMEs, and most women business-owners struggle to transition away from informal micro-scale businesses, in part due to limited access to finance and lower business capacity of women entrepreneurs. This report presents a snapshot of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) across Sri Lanka, with a focus on the different impacts experienced by women-owned and managed businesses (WSME), as compared to those owned by men (MSME) and those owned jointly by a woman and a man (JSME)."

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"The authors conduct a randomized experiment among women in urban Sri Lanka to measure the impact of the most commonly used business training course in developing countries, the Start-and-Improve Your Business program. They work with two representative groups of women: a random sample of women operating subsistence enterprises and a random sample of women who are out of the labor force but interested in starting a business. They track the impacts of two treatments -- training only and training plus a cash grant -- over two years with four follow-up surveys and find that the short and medium-term impacts differ."

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"Management has a large effect on the productivity of medium and large firms. But does management matter in micro and small firms, where the majority of the labor force in developing countries works? We develop 26 questions that measure business practices in marketing, stock-keeping, record-keeping, and financial planning. These questions have been administered in surveys in Bangladesh, Chile, Ghana, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, and Sri Lanka. We show that variation in business practices explains as much of the variation in outcomes-sales, profits, and labor productivity and total factor productivity-in microenterprises as in larger enterprises."

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