Towards success: impact and sustainability in the FIT programme
The FIT programme (Farm Implements and Tools) is working to strengthen local capacity for action research, specifically in the field of non-financial services for micro- and small-scale enterprises (MSEs). High priority is being placed on the development of services which can be self-sustaining in the long term. If the services are self-sustaining, it is argued, then they are presumably in demand by the beneficiaries. They could also achieve considerable outreach in a cost-effective way, if they can be copied by others.At the same time, monitoring the impact of those services has been of great importance to both FIT and its partners, to understand what is actually happening, and in particular, to ensure that the ultimate effects have indeed been beneficial, for example in the creation of high-quality opportunities for employment. This article gives a brief description of the FIT programme; it then considers the demands of MSEs for services, and the impact achieved by some pilot activities to meet those demands. The needs of the end-users of MSE products, and the situation for the partner organizations, are also discussed. Finally, conclusions are drawn about demand, impact monitoring and the design of future activities.
How sustainable can business development services really be? A report on the Harare BDS workshop
Many business development services are already beginning to operate sustainably, and scepticism about sustainability may echo similar attitudes expressed 10-15 years ago in the field of microfinance. This article reports on a workshop held at the end of September 1998 in Harare, to review emerging 'good practice' in the provision of Business Development Services for small enterprise development. The full report on which it is based will be available shortly at www.ilo.org/public/ english/65entrep/bds/index.htm; the papers presented at the workshop are already available at that site. The workshop brought together 100 BDS providers, policymakers and donor representatives working in subSaharan Africa; their deliberations, as reported here, was also be presented at a global conference on BDS, planned by the Committee of Donor Agencies for SED, and taking place in Brazil in March 1999.
Developing commercial markets for Business Development Services - highlights of the Turin seminar, September 2001
A series of conferences on Business Development Services (BDS) led to the publication of Guiding principles by the Committee of Donor Agencies for SED; this document put forward the idea that many BDS are already provided to small enterprises by the private sector, and proposed a framework within which this provision could be stimulated or enhanced. While being relatively clear about the final vision, the Guiding principles were necessarily vague about how to get there, or what it might look like in practice. The BDS Seminar in Turin in September 2001 brought together many people who are working to flesh out these ideas, and gave the basic approach considerable extra momentum.
Private sector development and the poor: current thinking and future directions
The field of Private Sector Development (PSD) has been changing in important ways in the last few years; what are those changes, and how should we be reacting? This article reviews the good news, the less good news, and the exciting new developments and opportunities; in particular, it argues that practitioners need to document their work better than they do at present, if policy choices are to be more evidence-based. Similarly, practitioners should think more about achieving measurable impacts at the national level. The article draws partly on the presentations made at the Annual ILO Seminar in Chiang Mai in September 2006, documenting in particular the concluding presentation by the author at that Seminar. It is written for all those working in areas such as value chain development, making markets work for the poor, BDS and small enterprise development.