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BDS Primer

Since the year 2000, the ILO has published an annual synthesis of work in the field of Business Development Services (BDS) in conjunction with its annual BDS seminar in Turin. In 2003 the document was divided into two parts. This is the first part, the BDS Primer, which presents the fundamental principles of BDS market development and summarises key tools. It is an introductory resource for newcomers to the field and a useful reference for experienced BDS professionals.

The Primer is divided into the following sections:

  1. Introduction
  2. How do BDS reduce poverty, generate economic growth and employment, and contribute to broad development goals?
  3. What does BDS market development mean?
  4. What are the important principles of BDS market development?
  5. How can practitioners select appropriate services to help small enterprises (SEs) develop and grow?
  6. How can practitioners assess BDS markets and choose interventions to strengthen them?
  7. How can services be affordable and sustainable?
  8. What strategies can be used to develop BDS markets?
  9. How is BDS program performance being measured?
  10. What’s next in BDS?

Formerly known as “non-financial services”, the field originally concentrated on providing training, consulting and other services that addressed the internal constraints of enterprises. More recently, it has grown to include marketing services, infrastructure, input supply, technology and product development and alternative financing mechanisms. The BDS field is currently focused on adapting lessons learned from the field of microfinance and consolidating decades of learning from small enterprise development experience around the world. This type of information can be found in the BDS Update also published by ILO.

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