(from the working paper, International best practice in micro and small enterprise development, prepared by 'Maurice Allal', has been produced as part of the ILO/UNDP 'Support for Policy and Programme Development project on Micro and Small Enterprise Development and Poverty Alleviation in Thailand (THA/99/003)'.)
Business development services (BDS) refer to the provision of information, knowledge and skills, as well as advice on the various aspects of a business. This definition of BDS implies a conscious action performed by the service provider for the benefit of the receiver of the service. Thus, the action of an individual using savings for establishing a business may not be considered as a "financial service". Similarly, information obtained inadvertently by an entrepreneur (e.g. on a supplier of materials) may not be considered an "information service". This is an important distinction that is not made by some practitioners who tend to use the term business development services whether a service provider is involved or not.
BDS are provided to help owners of enterprises get new ideas on how to improve their business through, for example, increasing productivity, reducing production costs, or accessing a more profitable market. These services include the transfer of information in various forms through, for example, consulting services or special events (e.g. exhibitions and trade fairs). The impact of this category of BDS depends on how the owners of enterprises make use of the new ideas.
Many thanks for the additonal information and referenching. As indicated, this is field that is developing and practice sometimes in countries and specific situations have been implemented with varioations based on local contexts. We all want to do somthing that works in our country or setting isn't it? Jealous