March 6, 2013

Lessons from the field

Business Start-up Centres in the Western Balkans

We are pleased to announce the release of the case study for SPARK’s Business Start-up Centre.  SPARK aims to learn from what it is doing, from its partners in different countries, and from the different activities it completes and the outcomes it achieves.

A key learning question for us is, how we can most appropriately and effectively provide the elements of entrepreneurship and SME development through our partner organisations, so that they can support entrepreneurs effectively and facilitate easy access to a complete service package.

Written by Margot Lobbezoo and Liz Betser, the case study, describes and analyses SPARK’s extensive work on entrepreneurship promotion and SME development in the Western Balkans region as part of its so-called MFS I programme funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs during 2006-2010.

It examines the impact of an integrated business services package on poverty alleviation in fragile states.  The findings are useful for both internal and external learning. On the one hand, the case study serves as one of the key tools to creating a knowledge “library” for within SPARK. It identifies lessons learnt that can be applied to improve SPARK’s current SME development programmes and inform the design of future projects.

On the other hand, the case study also serves to help SPARK contribute to the wider field of private sector development (PSD), create opportunities for external feedback, and add to the evidence base of what works and why in enterprise development for youth employment creation.

We thank PSO for the support -both financial and technical- they have provided for researching and writing the case study under an “LWT Traject” we completed in November 2012.

Download and access ‘Business Start-up Centres in the Western Balkans’ here