Sustaining BDS Programmes
Let me start by thanking all of you who contributed extensively and technically to the introductory topic yesterday. We received and shared more other definitions, more explanations and more reference documents. New information was provided which just helped to further simplify and demonstrate that we are really reading from the same page.
Now, I would like to introduce a new topic in the form of a discussion question. And this is is really an important question. It is around sustainability of BDS interventions. I would like to ask us to share our experiences on what has worked as s sustanability model in your project. Let me explain. You start a BDS programme or project or intervention, say training or provision of market linkages. What sustainability model did you use? Please share with us if you think the model is good for others to learn from. Share with us when the initial project ended? Are the activitioes continuing after the project ended? Why do you think your sustanability model has worked?
I am saying this because as development practitioners we are increasingly now being asked not only to demonstrate impact and results but how to sustain the intervention and those results. Think about it - we have been talking about training and training for ages. We should by now have many good practices, tried and tested models which we can just roll out. Let us learn those models from you. Let us share our experiences so that others from across the world can learn.
wishing you the best,
Dear Jealous, As we have already discussed that the Business Development Services (BDS) comprise a wide range of non-financial services provided by the both public and private suppliers (BDS providers) to entrepreneurs. Basically the types of services in a functioning BDS system are determined by the demand articulated on the part of the businesses and willingness to pay for the services offered.
For developing Sustainable BDS provision, we have to start with the BDS market assessment to find out the current BDS market constraints for both supply and demand side. When I was working with IEDI/RuralEnterprises Assistance programme supported by SNV and ICCO Holland, we did the initial enterprises need assessment and inventory of BDS supply side . After having the study, we conducted various BDS matching events, which perfectly worked.
Sustaining Business Development Services Programmes - City Of Windhoek / Namibia
The SME Incubation Centre is established by the City of Windhoek to provide prospective SMEs with the necessary and relevant capacity building and business support to develop and expand their businesses, the focus being on emerging entrepreneurs , existing and starting SME businesses that intend to grow their business into formal sector. The objectives is for SMEs to be accommodatd at the centre on a temporary basis and within a conducive enviroment that will enable them to grow from informal to formal business.
Business Development services such as Capacity Building and Mentorship Services to the Entrepreneurs at the SME Incubation Centre are been provided for the period of three years and after three years this SME are graduating from the centre and this system is really working, most of the SMEs who were accomodated at the centre having only one or two workers have created more employment opprotunities and are now operating in industrial areas because most of this business has grown from informal to formal businesses. this programme is sustainable because it is working in Namibia , we have also notice that most of the people from different countries in Africa are visiting our centre to learn from our experience.
(We commit ourselves to make the City of Windhoek a vibrant , economic and technological centre of excellence in Africa in order to enhance the quality of life of all our people)
Leah, Windhoek Namibia
Welcome! I really like your case on Business Incubation experiences from Namibia. I hope everybody has gone through it. Business incubation is one programme that is implemented with sustainability in mind, right from the start. I am happy to hear it has worked in Namibia because in some countries, the problem normally occurs when it is time for the 'incubatees' to move out. They keep giving excuses (that we haven't grown enough to be on our own) and stay long and longer and that causes the collapse of the incubation schem if no new prospects are coming. In some cases the issue of their moving out gets plitisized. Nice to hear it is working somewhere. Thanks. JC
Hi Jealous and Colleaques,
The sustainability model that is good for entrepreneur are:
- Conducting a BDS market assessment - this has to do with understanding the markets in order to identify weaknesses and opportunities which has to do with demand and supply of services and the extent of market distortion
- Agree on Delivery and payment Mechanisms- This requires attention to delivery and payment mechanisms as part of the BDS products
- Have an Exist Strategy as the start - This need to be built in the implementation and roll out of project but not at the mid-way 0r towards the end of the project
- Proper selection of Partner Institutions-This has to do with developing a transactional relationships with small enerprises clients based on exchange rather than charity,
These are practical tips that i and few that i know put into consideration for their enterpreneurship development and yielded positive result.
Many thanks for your wella argued intervention. It outlines some of the important steps that are necessary to build in the concept and achieve sustainability. The issue of identifying a need at the start, backed by a proper analysis (needs assessment) will be able to demonstrate a felt need. The issue of payment mechanism is important. Entrepreneurs, including youth entrepreneurs, are rational people. They wil pay for something that brings in value. They will pay for something that will help them to grow. So, if something is good, they will pay for it. The issue of proper selection of partner instituions is extremely important as well. Very important. If you have the wrong bed fellow, things will never work.
You reminded me about the three dimensions of sustainability, which I will allude to as I summarize my discussion in a few minutes. Check it out in a few minutes. JC
Hi Jealous and Hi All,
Sustainability is a major challenge we face in project delivery, most interventions are not sustainable and so I have little experiences to share. However on the issue of sustainability, one project comes to mind, and it is a Youth Development Centres Project implemented by my Ministry in collaboration with UNICEF, it involved provision of a number of BDS services to the youth, such as vocational training, accesses to ICT, information etc. The project ended in the year 2004/2005 and activities are still continuing.
Certain steps that were taken in programme design and delivery that ensured sustainability and these steps are as follows:
• A needs assessment was conducted to ascertain the needs of the programe target (mostly the Youth)
• The youth and members of the community selected for programme intervention were involved in some stages of the programme planning, design and implementation
• Advocacy to a number of stakeholders in government and civil society to involve them in project delivery
• An exit strategy, which was to transfer ownership of project to the community.
Dear Shining Star,
Many thanks again for your your intervention. You raise a number of important points for sustainability. One of them is the demostration of need for the intervention by the target group. So, a needs assessment can hlp to show this. The principle is, if if they need it, they will most likely continue it. Sometimes we as development practitioners are accused of just shoving programmes down the throats of the people and we expect that to be sustained when we have exited! And the issue of the exit strategy is important - having t at the start and having it clearly is helpful. Jealous
I am enjoying the discussions that are going on and I hope are all learning. Thanks for being part of this. i just want to sort of summarize the discussion on sustainability by adding something that one of you reminded me about. If you want to be abit technical, you can talk about 3 deimentions of sustainability;
(a) Organizational element - which answers the question on whether the partner organizations that you have selected have integrated you new (project) intervention into their regular programmes. For instance, if you intrdocue business skills training to technical or vocational instituions, or a youth association, have the organizations included that trainign as part of their calandar? Including it means they have bought into it and they think it adds value.
(b) Technical sustainability - in other words, have you built enough technical capacity (of trainers and facilitators) who can continue with the intervention after the project has ended. Do you have the critical mass? Are the trainers or providers capable of providing the training at the same same quality standards as during the project? What is the quiality monitoring mechnism and how is it sustained?
(c) Financial sustainability. Now this is important. One basic rule of thump is that if as a BDS provider you are not able to find somebody or some instituion to pay for your services or products, it can not be sustained. Simple. The question of who actually pays eventually might not be the most important one, but the other rule of thump is that you have the greatest chances of sustinability if the user or beneficiary pays for the services rendered. I know we can have a long discussion about whether Government programmes or projects are sustainable or not (if there is long term committed funding). But the target group should pay, and pay at least a significant proportiuon of the total cost. That way they will vaue it, and you have a better chance of sustaining it.
Thank you Jealous,
Mine isn't a BDS per se but in terms of training, whenever I work to train teachers in a particular school, I try to get about three people who will be groomed to take over and "localise" the training of teachers even before the end of the workshop. These Trainers continue to enjoy support from me through mobile phone interactions, the internet and personal visits.
The most inportant in this BDS is to know the concept the market assessment and to achieve it's sustainability because is the major challenge they face in it's project delivery.
Why do you think your sustanability model has worked ?
Hi! at this point I can't say there is any project to say that i have been involved using the sustainability model , but so far in my country we have what is called Local Enterprise Authority and their main responsibility is to capacitate young entrepreneurs, I am thier client , we have completed my business plan and waiting to get funds from the local business funders , they have trained me on Entrepreneurship development and they are going to continue training me until my business is well establish.
We also have what is called the Business place which is an NGO which also grooms young people into young entrepreneurs, we also have a private company called Career Diversity which also does the same, and at the University of Botswana, we have the business clinic which does the same for young people who are studying there.
I am proud to say this , reading through the course materials offered in thi course , it helped me to develop a project concept for one of the projects that I am directing this year, we have decided to form a three way partnership (NGOs,Private sector and the government mainly focusing on BDS and business funders ) to see if the BDS can't help our country to have sustainable businesses. I will tell you more about it while I am in Zambia.
Wilson J Mbongwe of Botswana
Sustainabity of Business Development Services
Business Marteting Linkages: businesses exit to make profit through providing goods and services to the consumer. the magic to success therfore is to adopted revevant marketing strategies as interventions to win clints from competitors. thorough the Department of Youth the Botswana government provides business platform like Youth expositions, business creation awereness workshops and others to afford the Youth enterpreneurs the opportunity to show case and market thier businesses. afer each event evalution teams meet to assess the revevance and performance of the adopted strategies and align the reponnses with the current demand. BDS providers should take note of the following; fist understand the existing market inoder to inditify weakness and opportunities, agree on the delvery and payment for provide sevices, have an exist startege at start, prpperly selecedt the partner institution, and perfoemance measurement instruments.
Youth entreprenurs in Botswana are time and again linked with successful business for mentoring purposes and in some instances government buy from Youth enterprises without going through the normal tender process that involves the general public as away of protecting youth entreprises from compiting with extablished business. besides these iniatetives the government of Botwana has established the Botswana Local Entreprise Authority to capacitate Batswana Enterpreneurs in all entrepreneurdhip Development spheres and as such our cliental (youth) are beneffiting a lot.