This article explores the issue of gender-differentiated patterns of growth: do female and male entrepreneurs have different interests in their business strategies and display different patterns of growth? If they do, what factors explain these differences? This article provides evidence supporting the hypothesis that women more often than men use available resources to increase the diversity of their enterprise portfolios rather than the size of a single firm. These tendencies toward 'occupational multiplicity' (Massiah, 1988), it is argued, have important implications for research and intervention design. They suggest that research which measures growth solely in terms of firm size underestimates the earnings of women's enterprises. Additionally, interventions aimed at promoting the growth of firm size may fail in assisting female entrepreneurs, who focus on different goals.This paper was originally written for the research component of the Growth and Equity through Microenterprise Investments and Institutions (GEMINI) Project, which provides training, economic research, and information to USAID missions and organizations involved in microenterprise development world wide.
Identifying particular value chains that have the potential to compete globally should boost output and incomes. The challenge is to achieve this in value chains incorporating large numbers of small firms and microenterprises, and who are also in a position to benefit. This paper offers a step-by-step practical guide to intervention design for achieving competitiveness that benefits the poor. First industries are selected with potential for competitiveness, then a value chain analysis is carried out. A strategy is developed to improve competitiveness and achieve an equitable distribution of benefits, and an action plan is devised to achieve this strategy. Finally a system of performance monitoring and impact assessment is needed to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions.