I couldn´t agree more with this set of 5 challenges that face microentrepreneurs for further development and any attempt to take Management and Tech Skills, A2Mkts, A2F, infrastructure and policy to an optimal level should be not only welcome but encouraged. However, we need to realize that this is a marathon rather than a sprint and it takes an alignment of a variety of public and private players to move a whole ecosystem to the next level.
So where do we start? how can we build momentum by demonstrating a valid approach that will convince public and private players to do what it is required? how can we start helping microentrepreneurs and their communities that can not wait decades to get their ecosystem fixed?
We start by addressing the most critical ones, which doesn’t mean neglecting the rest. Our experience suggest that in many underdeveloped markets, although base conditions are far from ideal, they are "good enough" at least for a sizable segment of microentrepreneurs, so we have started to work with them in the most critical ones. These are usually a subset of managerial skills as we have found that no matter how good is regulation, infrastructure, A2F and A2Mkts is , if some core managerial skills are not present, they will not benefit from that. Conversely a few key managerial skills have demonstrated to largely help entrepreneurs overcome or at least maneuver in suboptimal ecosystems and growth at a great pace. Among these core skills are included the ability to identify both market and funding opportunities, which would address other two key gaps identified in the guide.
TechnoServe and its partners have tested this approach at scale (thousands of entrepreneurs) with great results in a number of very diverse markets, from Nicaragua to Burkina Faso, which is creating evidence and momentum to help us influence governments, corporates and financial institutions to join forces.
Richard Gilbert said:
Thanks everyone - Let’s kick off with the first question:
Q1. Our new report highlights five key interconnected needs of micro-enterprises that would enable them to thrive – how do these needs exist for the micro-enterprises you engage with and support? Are some more important to address than others?