Enterprise Development

Overview

Enterprise development programs help entrepreneurs to start and run profitable businesses through training, technical assistance, and inclusive market development activities. While the dynamism and innovation that entrepreneurs bring to an economy are one reason to implement activities in this area, the inability of the formal sector to produce enough jobs for the growing youth population makes self-employment an important option for youth as well.

Where We Are Now?

Similar to the general enterprise and market development field, youth enterprise development has moved from a focus solely on the enterprise itself to a more holistic approach. While providing training or technical assistance to an entrepreneur is still important, practitioners are complementing these types of assistance with activities to strengthen an enterprise’s overall ecosystem. For example, projects now include initiatives to strengthen entrepreneurs’ networks, so that they can gain business or mentoring assistance as necessary, or focus on strengthening the overall value chain specific to youth enterprises.

Trends and Best Practices:

  • Not all entrepreneurs are created equal. Many youth start businesses out of necessity and are unlikely to grow their business beyond the micro-stage. A smaller subset are more entrepreneurial minded and given the right set of circumstances, have a greater chance to develop a successful small enterprise. Practitioners and donors are distinguishing between these types of individuals and providing different types of support to each.
  • Successful young entrepreneurs capitalize on their passion and market opportunities. Successful programs recognize this and help develop opportunities in areas that are naturally interesting to youth, or work to educate youth that more traditional activities, such as agriculture, can be both inspiring and remunerative.
  • Successful capacity building initiatives help entrepreneurs obtain the information they need and have the skills to manipulate it for business success.
  • Entrepreneurs require the skills to both run a profitable business and a financially stable household.
  • USAID and other donors have begun incorporating youth inclusion activities to value chain projects in a more robust way. By integrating a “youth lens” in value chain assessments, implementers are able to identify constraints and opportunities specific to youth and beyond those that apply to value chain actors more broadly.

 

Enterprise Development: Blogs

The Key to Growth & Progress in Latin America: Young Entrepreneurs

Back in the 90’s, a vast majority of parents and guardians in Latin America would look down on their children if they decided to opt to become an entrepreneur instead of pursuing a career or enrolling in a University. They would think that their children had a lack of motivation for studying or they were simply not smart enough or too lazy to complete a degree.

Skills for Youth Employment: How and for Whom?

R4D recently hosted a panel discussion about the skills that students in developing countries need to excel in the labor market, along with innovative models for delivering those skills at the secondary level. The conversation covered macro issues (for instance, how to scale, how to engage policymakers, how to move successful pilots into the hands of local governments) and the precise skills that youth should acquire to meet the needs of employers.

Kiva at Four

This essay is a sequel to the case titled “Kiva and the Birth of Person-to-Person Microfinance,” published by the author in Innovations (Winter/Spring 2007). Started by the author, Jessica Jackley Flannery and Moses Onyango in 2005, Kiva is an online lending platform that allows individuals in the developed world to loan to small businesspeople in the developing world. Kiva operates in the microfinance space and works with a growing network of microfinance institutions (MFIs) in more than 40 countries.

Resource Type: 
Report

Kiva and the Birth of Person-to-Person Microfinance

Matt Flannery started Kiva in 2005 with his wife, Jessica. Kiva is an online lending platform that allows individuals in the developed world to loan to small business people in the developing world. Kiva operates in the microfinance space and works with a growing network of microfinance institutions (MFIs) in more than thirty countries. Their MFI partners post the profiles of their loan applicants to the website. Internet users in the United States, Canada, Europe, and beyond make small loans via PayPal to these businesses. The businesses pay the lenders back over a period of about a year.

Resource Type: 
Report