For the past 10 years I have had several businesses without really knowing how to go about things properly. My lack of organization meant that I was always tired and, before attending the training, I felt very pessimistic. Things started to change after the first few sessions I have progressed from selling three boxes of eggs a day to seven. And I now know how to ensure a relationship of trust with my customers thanks to three words that I will never forget: transparency, cordiality and confidence. But, my best reward is having learned how to organize myself so that I can take care of my child and my business ″

Salimata KOMENAN

Basic management student in 2016, Abidjan, Ivory Coast

Rodolphe de Tilly, Entrepreneurship Unit Manager


The Enterprises Development Network (EDN) brings together local associations which have gradually been created in order to implement and supervise the activities of the Support Program for Small Enterprises in partnership with the IECD. Since 2010, the collaborative work has led to the organization of annual seminars which enable exchanges concerning the definition of training content and common ideas about methodology. Together, the Network’s members undertake to develop, improve, expand and preserve the unity of the Support Program for VSEs.


The Support for Small Enterprises program

76 %

of certified entrepreneurs have professional and/or personal savings and are working on developing their business six months after the training (compared to 52% when signing-up).

81 %

of entrepreneurs use at least one management tool (cashbook, stock cards, etc.) 6 months after the training (compared to 36% when signing-up).

Since 1998, the IECD and its partners have implemented the Support for Small Enterprises program, which accompanies heads of small businesses or startup entrepreneurs in the creation, consolidation and permanence of their activity. It is now deployed in 9 countries, the most recent of which is Egypt, which launched its activities this year. It was also implemented in Syria up until 2011.

The results are quickly visible and enterprises start to generate stable and lasting, or higher benefits. Some create jobs. They contribute to improving the living conditions of entrepreneurs, their families and their employees.

2017 results :

  • About 4,500 entrepreneurs and start-up entrepreneurs were trained and accompanied, 45% of whom were women.
  • 60% of the entrepreneurs increased their turnover 6 months after the training.
  • 25% of the entrepreneurs hired at least one person six months after their training.

2017 improvements :

  • A new training and support path based on innovative teaching practices targeting vulnerable street vendors was launched: Top Sales.
  • During the annual seminar which was held in Brazzaville in November 2017, workshops helped to improve the support and coaching methods, review the monitoring-evaluation process, and introduce a certification system for trainers.


Based on the observation that two-thirds of businesses in the world are created by women, the IECD’s programs focus on their financial independence as a key vector for sustainable economic development. However, women face many obstacles and it should be highlighted that the income generated from their activities has a limited potential for growth. The IECD is building relationships with local partners involved in the promotion and empowerment of women and is setting up many initiatives that help women to develop their activities: 40% of the beneficiaries of the IECD’s Support Program for VSEs are currently women and this percentage is particularly high in some countries (80% in Palestinian Territories, 78% in Lebanon, 76% in Vietnam, 64% in Madagascar). Some projects are even reserved solely for women. Thus, in Palestine, the IECD supports the development of a women’s cooperative which currently employs about 20 workers and also offers an agri-food training course in order to provide women in the East Jerusalem region with marketing and management skills. Since the end of 2015, the IECD has been working with the Women’s Union, a socio-political organization that helps and supports Vietnamese women. In 2016, the IECD trained about 50 women from this organization in the basics of management. In Congo-Brazzaville, 32 young street girls participated in the basic management training thanks to a partnership with the ASI association. In line with these projects, the IECD has built a partnership with the Bel group which aims to support and train street vendors in the Ivory Coast, DRC and Vietnam, a majority of whom are women, in how to manage their business. The training content was reviewed in order to adapt to a less educated public and 276 people were trained in 2016.


1. Awareness of entrepreneurs:
basic tools for the
company’s permanence

2. Professionalization of entrepreneurs: tools and an ecosystem for the company’s growth

3. Lucrative services: develop a lasting economic model via a complete
service offering.

Basic Management Training (BMT) targets active entrepreneurs, and those wishing to start their own businesses are also supported by Start-Up Training (SUT). These two courses include theoretical sessions in the classroom and several hours of individual support for up to one year after training. This support plays a key role in the entrepreneurs’ appropriation of management notions and tools. A new training course for street vendors, Top Sales Training (FTV), was designed and tested in 2017.

After this support, and in order to avoid the isolation of active entrepreneurs, the IECD and its partners came up with the idea of creating the Entrepreneurs Club, which offers thematic evenings, specialist training (management, marketing, financial analysis and IT), personal advice and access to a computer room. The Club favors the creation of a network and offers the opportunity to update or improve skills.

The IECD and its partners offer tailor-made training, diagnosis studies and advice services for the largest structures (public services, major groups, large local enterprises, etc.). They help to progress towards a better economic balance for the program by generating income whilst also allowing large companies to take advantage of the expertise acquired in the program. Therefore, the aim is the commercialization of activities 1 and 2 among other structures.