Business Development Services (BDS)

The ILO supports the development of markets for Business Development Services, primarily through the capacity building of intermediary service deliverers but also through interventions to improve the way markets work. Over the years the ILO has developed considerable expertise, credibility, networks, tools and experiences that can assist governments, employers, workers and other development practitioners in their work.

The ILOs strongest involvement in BDS has been in the following areas:

  • Business management training. In the area of management training the ILO has training tools that cover the whole spectrum of target groups from illiterate micro entrepreneurs to growth oriented small and medium scale entrepreneurs, please see the SIYB homepage for one of the biggest global SME management training programmes for Micro and small entrepreneurs introduced in more than 100 countries. Please do also refer to the webpages on Women and Youth Entrepreneurship.
  • Media based enterprise development programmes have been developed in Uganda, Zambia, China and Sri Lanka aiming at improving the way different media markets can support SMEs and at improving the business culture
  • Research has been conducted into the linkages of BDS and financial services.
  • ILOs training arm, the International Training centre of the ILO in Turin ( Offer a range of distance and in-person courses that transmit knowledge in supporting BDS markets and Value Chains, including (BDS and MARKETDEV)

Key Resources

  1. Enterprise for Pro-poor Growth, Sri Lanka, 2005-2009

    01 May 2005 to 30 September 2009 -

  2. The 2008 Reader - Private Sector Development: Measuring and Reporting Results

    01 January 2008

    Eighth Annual BDS Seminar - Chiang Mai, Thailand, September 2007

  3. Synergies through linkages: Who benefits from linking micro-finance and business development services?

    06 June 2007

  4. Guide to Market Assessment for BDS Program Design

    01 April 2001

    A FIT Manual

  5. Integrating mass media in small enterprise development : current knowledge and good practices

    03 January 2008

    Employment Working Paper No. 2

  6. Palama - A bridge to a different way of working

    01 October 2008

    Case Study of the Palama Forum Theatre Project for Enterprise Culture Sri Lanka, 2005-2008

  7. The Enter-Growth Project Sri Lanka

    28 January 2010

    Applying a market development lens to an ILO local enterprise development project

  8. The 2005 Reader - From BDS to Making Markets Work for the Poor

    01 October 2005

    Sixth Annual BDS Seminar - Turin, Italy, September 2005

  9. A glance at BDS Markets and Pioneering Providers in Central America

    01 July 2003

    July 2003, Costa Rica

  10. Commercially sustainable BDS to poor customers - The case of Sri Lanka

    01 August 2004

  11. The role of small business associations in BDS provision in Ghana

    01 September 2003

    Background paper for BDS conference presentation, September 2003.

  12. The 2006 Reader - Implementing Sustainable Private Sector Development: Striving for Tangible Results for The Poor

    22 September 2006

    Seventh Annual BDS Seminar - Chiang Mai, Thailand, September 2006

  13. Linking Business Development Services to Financial Services: The case of Financiera Solución in Peru

    01 March 2004