Qualitative Research for a Digital Mentoring Platform in Ethiopia’s Somali Region

Female entrepreneurs tend to have lower levels of education, less access to relevant business information, and face higher childcare and household demands, restricting their ability to attend traditional training and networking activities.

As such, the World Bank’s Africa Gender Innovation Lab established the Innovations in Financing Women Entrepreneurs project, which seeks to pilot, scale up, and evaluate new approaches to empowering Ethiopia’s women entrepreneurs. IFWE works with Mercy Corps to bring its existing MicroMentor platform, which facilitates digital connections between mentors and mentees, to the Somali Region in Ethiopia.

AIR and its subcontractor, Effect X, conducted an exploratory qualitative study of the MicroMentor pilot intervention, using focus group discussions and semi-structured interviews, to understand local cultural views towards business mentorship, as well as expectations, experiences, challenges, and successes using the MicroMentor platform. This information equipped the World Bank to provide female entrepreneurs in Ethiopia with the most effective support required to overcome their unique set of challenges.