Synthesis documents

Donor approaches to improving the business environment for small enterprises, White/Donor Committee, 2004

    The study presented in this report was based on a comparative assessment of the similarities and differences in donor agency practices in reforming the business environment for small enterprises. Special attention is given to the way donor agencies define the business environment and the role small enterprises play in it.

    It was found that donor agencies have come to this field of work along different paths. Agencies such as the development banks have been involved in supporting macroeconomic reforms for sometime. These agencies have been interested in the business environment in general, but rarely examined the importance of the business environment on small enterprises. In contrast to this situation, there are donor agencies that have a long history of support for small enterprise development programs, but have only recently turned their attention to the broader environment in which small enterprises operate.

    This study also examined the approaches donor agencies take to assessing the business environment for small enterprises. What donors measure in the business environment and the changes they monitor reflect their interests. Interventions designed to improve the business environment are based on an analysis that gives priority to some issues over others.

    Summary of results
    Many donors consulted for this study indicated they would appreciate information on how to improve their performance in these areas. Donors are eager to learn more about the experiences of others in the fields of governance, regulatory reform, policy development and revision, and drawing small enterprises into social dialogue.

    The difficulties of donor collaboration are identified. While all donor agencies agree to the importance of better collaboration, many experience internal obstacles. Some of the mechanisms that have been used to promote collaborative reform efforts are described.

    Finally, this report attends to the ways donor agencies formulate the outcomes and impact of their projects and what indicators they use to measure these. The frameworks agencies use to assess outcomes and impact in the reform of business environments is of interest, as are any insights that can be gained into the processes and experiences of turning plans for reforms into actual donor-supported interventions.

    For What's New visitors, the French version of this document is the most recent addition. Our thanks to the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and GRET for that.

    Associated Activities and Documents
    Synthesis documents
    »Donor Committee Conference: Reforming the Business Environment - from assessing problems to measuring results, Cairo, 29 November to 1 December 2005