Technology – the key to increasing the productivity of microenterprises
It is widely accepted that microenterprises are an important source of goods and services, income, and employment in developing countries, particularly for low-income groups. This is illustrated by the growth in recent years of the numbers of programmes which target credit particularly at the enterprises of low-income people. This article discusses the importance of technologies to the survival, growth, and expansion of those all-important production and processing microenterprises, and argues that credit alone is insufficient to generate the productivity increases needed for long-term economic growth and poverty alleviation. The article analyses how external assistance can support technology innovation and dissemination, and examines the role of technological assistance in microenterprise programmes and ways in which development agencies can provide this assistance.
Integrated approaches to enabling the most vulnerable to participate in markets
Even when markets become more accessible to poor people in general, wealth differentials occur and the most vulnerable are the ones excluded. The reasons for their exclusion are complex and inextricably linked with many aspects of their lives; an integrated approach takes these multiple dimensions of poverty into account, whilst addressing their deep levels of poverty through employment and enterprise. This article focuses on reaching those who are excluded from markets due to pervasive social discrimination and other challenges specific to their disability and health context. Two case studies of people with disabilities and those affected by HIV/ AIDS describe entry points and key services required to facilitate and sustain their participation as employees and enterprise owners. They demonstrate how successful models use participation in economic activities to achieve sustainable impact through stimulating attitude change, and create a more level playing field for their access to markets and wider development processes.