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Mapping the Shift in Business Development Services

In the last twenty years, microfinance has made it possible for the first time for poor people to access reasonably priced financial services. More recently, another related revolution has started, which may have the potential to be equally dramatic. Small enterprises not only need credit - they also need many other services: training, advice, marketing, supplies, premises, accountancy, materials, technology and many others. Without them, credit alone may do no more than add the burden of debt to all the other problems entrepreneurs have to face. Governments and foreign donors have traditionally responded to these needs by trying to provide the services themselves. Despite -or because of - heavy subsidies, these services have been inadequate and of poor quality, and their main effect has been to 'crowd out' potentially more effective private suppliers. But policy makers are now learning that entrepreneurs are willing to pay the market price for quality services, and that small businesses - in the private sector - are the best source of services for other small businesses. The goal is to make markets work - in business services as well as in other products. The editor has selected s
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About the Author

Malcolm Harper is Emeritus Professor of Enterprise Development at Cranfield University in the UK. He is Editor-in-Chief of Small Enterprise Development, the international journal of microfinance and business development, and author of numerous books and articles. James Tanburn works for the International Labour Organisation in Gneva.

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