Enterprise Development


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 Nightmare of Youth Unemployment and How to Fight It

Originally posted on the Huffington Post on March 3, 2015

Ways out of the global youth unemployment crisis

Originally published on Devex on March 16, 2015.

Yimesgen Messifant never imagined that, at age 27, he’d be unemployed, living with his parents. The Addis Ababa native knew that finding good work would be tough. The unemployment rate among young people in the Ethiopian capital hovers around 20 percent and many in their 20s and early 30s find it hard to secure skilled or even unskilled work.

But Messifant thought he was different.

Catalyzing the Power of Africa’s Youth: Recommendations for Youth Entrepreneurship Promotion 2.0

Originally Published on Next Billion on March 4, 2015.

Africa is witnessing a powerful trend that is expected to double by 2045: A growing young generation that now stands at 200 million people aged between 15–24 is creating the youngest continent[1] on Earth. But with a labor market that does not provide many opportunities for wage employment, Africa’s youth are taking matters into their own hands by exploring entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurship Education and Training: Insights from Ghana, Kenya and Mozambique

Governments around the world have shown a growing interest in interventions that promote entrepreneurial success, making significant investments in entrepreneurial education and training (EET). This is happening not only in developed nations, but also across the developing world as well. Empirical research has found positive correlations not only between entrepreneurial activity and innovation, but also between entrepreneurship and job creation.

Resource Type: 

Knowledge Management Platform for Increasing the Scale and Sustainability of Youth Economic Opportunity Programs

Meeting the needs of the global youth population requires evidence-based, scalable, and sustainable initiatives. In response, Making Cents International offers a demand-driven Knowledge Management (KM) platform that builds the capacity of positive youth development stakeholders worldwide to design, implement, and evaluate high-impact youth economic opportunity programs, policies, and partnerships.
Resource Type: 

One Size Does Not Fit All: What Type of Youth Entrepreneurship Support Works Where, and Why?

Globally, many initiatives exist to promote youth entrepreneurship, but robust evidence of what works and in which context is lacking. Presenters in this session have responded to this challenge by creating the Youth Entrepreneurship Contexts Framework. The Contexts Framework, and this workshop, is designed for practitioners, policymakers, M&E and learning specialists, and young entrepreneurs. Based on pilots in France, India, Afghanistan and Uganda, presenters explained how this tool can be used by sharing the framework along with evidence and insights that include: