Building Businesses with Small Producers: Successful Business Development Services in Africa, Asia and Latin America

Building Businesses with Small Producers: Successful Business Development Services in Africa, Asia and Latin America

Building Businesses with Small Producers: Successful Business Development Services in Africa, Asia and Latin America

Building Businesses with Small Producers: Successful Business Development Services in Africa, Asia and Latin America

Synopsis

This book presents a comparative analysis of seven case studies that challenge some of the current beliefs about good practice in the provision of business development services (BDS) to small and micro enterprises. It also highlights issues around the assessment of impact, sustainability, and cost-effectiveness of such services.Three services were given particular attention in the case studies: marketing, access to technology, and business and management skills acquisition. The case study projects were drawn from Bolivia, Bangladesh, El Salvador, Ghana, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe. Each of the projects introduced small producers to new production and marketing systems and successfully promoted private sector participation. The analysis of these experiences looks at the feasibility of market-based BDS provision and the role of nongovernmental organizations in building BDS markets.

Excerpt

This book presents the findings and comparative analysis of seven case studies that were carried out under the research project ‘Methodologies for the design and delivery of business development services for small producers’. the purpose of this project was to carry out an analysis of approaches to the design and delivery of various business development services (BDS) in developing countries and gain insight into how this can be done cost effectively, with high impact and sustainability.

The term ‘business development services’ refers to a range of non-financial services provided to micro- and small enterprises (MSEs) at various stages in their development, including before start-up. bds focus on reducing poverty by raising the productivity and the incomes of small and microproducers and entrepreneurs. Contained within the broad concept of bds are such activities as group training, individual counselling and advice, the development of new commercial entities, technology development and transfer, information provision, business links and policy advocacy. bds are aimed at assisting MSEs to overcome internal and external constraints to their start-up, development and performance.

The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) supported research on seven bds projects considered to be successful by their implementing agencies, five non-governmental organizations (NGOs): Intermediate Technology Development Group (UK), Enterprise Works Worldwide (USA), TechnoServe Inc. (USA), Mennonite Economic Development Associates (Canada) and Sarvodaya Sharmadana Sanamaya (Sri Lanka). These NGOs were IDRC’s partners in this project and contributed significant in-kind support to the researchers. Representatives of idrc, the partner NGOs and a resource person formed the project steering committee that guided the work of the researchers and engaged in the analysis presented in this book.

Three services were given particular attention in the case studies: marketing, access to technology, and acquisition of business and management skills. the researchers conducted the seven case studies guided by detailed terms of reference. the cases looked at the strategies and principal practices employed by the five NGOs in providing the bds through a set of indicators to assess ‘good practice’ in terms of impact, cost effectiveness and sustainability. Some of the projects reviewed included private sector collaboration, or they began as ngo projects and evolved into private companies.

This idrc research project addressed bds delivery questions within a comparative framework. the comparative analysis of research findings focuses on eight key variables:

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