|International Best Practice in Micro and Small Enterprise Development - Working Paper 2 - Micro and Small Enterprise Development and Poverty Alleviation in Thailand - Project ILO/UNDP: THA/99/003 (ILO-ISEP - ILO - UNDP, 2000, 80 p.)|
|2. Assessing business development services|
A large number of studies, reports and guidelines were used for this review. However, the main source of information is a report published by the Donor Committee on Small Enterprise Development that is made up of representatives of the major international agencies, donors and non-government organizations involved in MSE development. This Committee commissioned the preparation of guidelines on the issue of BDS, based on an extensive review and analysis of the approaches used in the area of BDS by the members of the Committee (Business Development Services for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises: Preliminary Guidelines on Donor-Funded Interventions). These Guidelines were published in 1998 by the ILO, which was assigned the responsibility for this task. Following the publication of these Guidelines, the Committee organised two regional workshops for a further exchange of ideas and experiences relating to the provision of and access to BDS by MSEs: in Harare (Zimbabwe) in 1998, and in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) in 1999. Papers presented at these two workshops were also used in the preparation of this working paper. Other major reports on the issue of BDS were also reviewed.
Some of the examples of best practice reviewed here are also based on a number of technical assistance projects (completed or on-going) implemented by the ILO in a large number of countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Central Europe.
In the context of this working paper, the term "international best practice" refers to a range of approaches for promoting access to quality and sustainable BDS, which have been successfully applied in a number of countries or have been proven particularly promising. It should be stressed that these approaches would not necessarily succeed in other countries or even replicated in the country where they were originally developed for a number of reasons. Firstly, the structure of the economy and cultural factors largely determine whether an approach may succeed or fail. Secondly, experience shows that potentially good approaches are more likely to succeed if they are initiated by individuals who exhibit drive, motivation, honesty, and inventiveness.
Therefore, it is possible that the replication of some of the approaches that have been successfully applied in other countries may not succeed in Thailand if the economic structure and cultural factors are not conducive to replication. In other cases, the approaches may need to be adapted specifically to the Thai environment. In all cases, the successful replication of promising approaches can depend to some extent on the choice of the individuals assigned the task of replication.
The main objective to facilitating access to quality BDS by MSEs is to help them improve their overall performance. Achieving this objective should lead to their growth - that is, that they employ more workers and become more profitable. Good practice, therefore, has to be seen in relation to this overall objective.