Gender, Entrepreneurship, and Inclusive Growth: The Role of Institutions in Promoting Small and Medium Enterprises in Mauritius and Botswana

Women and youth are often excluded from the full benefits of growth and development in Africa. There are institutional and policy-related hurdles to overcome to harness their full potential, including as owners and operators of small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Empirical literature suggests that public and private sector organizations mandated to promote SMEs play a critical role in promoting inclusive growth-in other words, growth that includes marginalized groups such as women and youth. They do so by promoting, facilitating, and supporting entrepreneurship.

To date, little empirical work has been done to study this issue in the context of developing countries. This study will use both quantitative and qualitative approaches to examine the role these institutions play. More specifically, the research team will explore the linkages between institutions, gender, entrepreneurship, and inclusive growth in Mauritius and Botswana. Its objectives include:

  • to examine how institutional policies and operational procedures have contributed to the development and growth of female- and male-owned SMEs;
  • to analyze how the products and services these institutions provide have influenced the development and growth of SMEs;
  • to investigate the legal and regulatory constraints institutions face in promoting the development and growth of SMEs;
  • to examine the legal and regulatory constraints SME owners face in operating their businesses; and,
  • to recommend policies to address the constraints institutions and SMEs face.

The study will include a total sample of 1,000 female- and male-owned SMEs, with 500 in Mauritius and 500 in Botswana. The findings will help inform policymakers as they address the institutional challenges entrepreneurs face, especially women. They will contribute to the SME sector's development in both countries.

Dr. Boopen Seetanah of the University of Mauritius Trust will coordinate the project, with support from Professor Nathan Okurut of the University of Botswana as co-investigator.

Project ID


Project status


Start Date

Monday, July 29, 2013

End Date

Wednesday, September 30, 2015


24 months

IDRC Officer

Okwi, Paul

Total funding

CA$ 403,100


Botswana, Mauritius, North of Sahara, South of Sahara


Employment and Growth

Project Leader

Prof Francis Nathan Okurut

Project Leader

Dr. Boopen Seetanah


UOM Enterprise Ltd

Institution Country


Institution Website