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Designing self sustaining support for micro-enterprises in sub-Saharan Africa : a pilot

By Carol L. Dalglish and Judy H. Matthews


Small and micro-enterprises play a significant part in most economies. However, in developing countries these enterprises have often been planned and implemented from a poverty alleviation perspective, rather than as entrepreneurial activities and growing businesses (Mead & Liedholm 1998, Toye 1993). This paper explores a model for sustainable support to micro-enterprises in a developing country context. \ud \ud Sustainability is critical if micro-enterprises are to grow. The traditional philanthropic model for funding micro-enterprises leaves local communities dependent on the priorities of donors which may not always be consistent with those of the community. Long term sustainability requires a move to a model that broadens the base of both economic and intellectual resources, that builds capacity as well as providing ‘start-up’ funding through mechanism such as micro-credit (Elkington & Hartigan 2008).\ud \ud Designing for sustainable enterprise development includes responding to the community’s priorities, investigating individual problems and solutions, encouraging agency and active involvement in goal setting, with on-going consultation and co-development of solutions. Recognising the importance of experimentation we have moved beyond existing forms to prototype new ways of working which provide continuity of financial and intellectual support for local initiatives. \ud \ud The paper reviews existing micro finance and microcredit practices and suggests a new approach to establish and support enterprises with financial and knowledge resources for sustainable business practices. Principles underlying such a program and the initial steps are described.\ud \u

Topics: 150314 Small Business Management, Self Sustaining, Micro-enterprises, Sub-Saharan Africa
Year: 2009
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