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

Sunita Kapila and Donald Mead
Practical Action Publishing, IDRC

Available formats

Building Businesses with Small Producers presents the findings and a comparative analysis of seven case studies that challenge current beliefs about good practice in the provision of business development services (BDS) to small and micro enterprises. The book also highlights issues concerning 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. Each case study – from Bolivia, Bangladesh, El Salvador, Ghana, Sri Lanka, and Zimbabwe – shows how small producers were introduced to new production and marketing systems and how private sector participation was successfully promoted. The analysis of these experiences looks at the feasibility of market-based BDS provision and the role of nongovernmental organizations in building BDS markets.

The research discussed in this book makes an important contribution to the ongoing debate regarding market and demand-based provision of nonfinancial services to small and micoentrepreneurs and businesses in Southern countries. This debate has been influenced by successes achieved in commercializing and broadening the reach of microcredit programs. The analysis presented reminds us that, to provide effective assistance to small producers, business development services often need to be provided in a multifaceted and flexible manner.

The editors

Sunita Kapila has worked as a consultant and staff member for various NGOs and donor agencies, including IDRC. Her specialities include small business development in South Asia and Africa, women’s information income generation, the acquisition of employable and entrepreneurial skills, strengthening of small and micro entrepreneurs’ associations, and various aspects of urban governance.

Donald Mead has over 40 years of experience as a development economist, including several long-term assignments in eastern and southern Africa. For the past 22 years, as a professor of agricultural economics at Michigan State University, he has concentrated on prospects and problems of small enterprises and the design of effective interventions for the support of such enterprises.

In Europe: Practical Action Publishing