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Entrepreneurship and small business development in Ethiopia

This project aims to improve the Ethiopian government's policies and practices, and those of other actors, to support small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) development in the country.

Since the early 2000s, the Ethiopian government has implemented successive development plans and sectoral strategies to transform the economy and create better jobs. The government's development strategies emphasize the role of SMEs in job creation, particularly in urban areas. They have placed a priority on women and youth in employment-generating schemes. The SME promotion and support packages provide improved market access, technical and entrepreneurial training, and access to financing and work opportunities.

Despite the attention given to SMEs in Ethiopia's development efforts, there are large knowledge gaps regarding their performance and the circumstances in which small business entrepreneurs operate. Little is known about the extent to which large entrepreneurial schemes have generated employment or created dynamic entrepreneurs who are able to grow and willing to take risks.

The Ethiopian Development Research Institute is initiating a five-year program to support job creation, particularly for youth and women, and to inform and guide policy on small business development in Ethiopia. The United Nations Development Programme is providing additional funding. The Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectorial Associations, Association of Ethiopian Microfinance Institutions, Ministry of Industry, other government bodies, and development partners will be directly involved in this project. The research team will generate evidence through field surveys and focus group discussions in 10 Ethiopian towns.

This project is expected to:
-expand and strengthen Ethiopia's SME sector
-improve the business environment and infrastructure for doing business in Ethiopia
-provide policymakers with the tools and knowledge to design strategies that support young entrepreneurs
-build capacity among young researchers and leaders
-publish journal articles and policy briefs
-develop a database that will track the SME sector's growth over time

Identificador del Proyecto
Estado de Proyecto
Fecha de finalización
18 months
Funcionario del IDRC
Paul Okwi
Total del financiamiento
CA$ 299,500.00
Employment and Growth
Employment and Growth
País de la Institución
Líder del proyecto
Mulu Gebreeyesus
Ethiopian Development Research Institute