Allow entrepreneurs to acquire the skills needed to launch and/or ensure the permanence of their activity

Create an ecosystem that favors the development of the activity of enterprises


IN 2022

  • 4,000 direct beneficiaries in 2022, among which:
    •  3,500 entrepreneurs. 61% of the entrepreneurs increased their turnover 6 months after the training. 
    • 500 farmers.
  • 15 local partners.
With the IECD, I feel supported. My turnover has increased by 25% and I no longer have to borrow to cover my children’s school fees.


Entrepreneur in Diên Biên Phu (Vietnam)


Help the small entrepreneurs to get out of misery

Small informal local craft, commerce and service enterprises represent the leading employment basin in the world and constitute the main source of income for millions of people. However these activities are very unstable. Without support, they have very little hope of survival and growth. Since 1998, the IECD’s Support for Small Enterprises program offers solutions that allow local entrepreneurs to acquire the skills needed to launch and ensure the permanence of their activity. Thus, they can earn the income they need to meet their family’s needs and improve their living conditions.

Through two programmes, one in an urban environment (Support for Small Enterprises) and the other in a rural environment (Support for Agri-food Stakeholders with the APONH and TRANSFORM projects), the IECD has developed a systemic approach to supporting entrepreneurship based on two lines of action:

1 – Training and support for entrepreneurs.
2 – The construction of an ecosystem favorable to the development of local entrepreneurship.


The lack of business management skills and the lack of access to training is hindering entrepreneurs in the development of their projects. Thus, the IECD has built accessible training paths adapted to each entrepreneur profile, especially women.

Furthermore, the IECD provides personalised support for each entrepreneur after training in order to supervise the development of their activity in the long-term.

Mr. Talla (on the right), the director of a stationer’s shop, with Sébastien (on the left),
a CED trainer during a supervisory visit. He is participating in the Basic Management Training (BMT).


Isolation is now one of the main obstacles experienced by entrepreneurs in the casual labor sector. In order to overcome this isolation, the IECD participates in the networking of different entrepreneurship stakeholders, whether in order to facilitate the sharing of experience or to create key partnerships that allow them to find new commercial openings. For example, in 2017, the Société des Fruits et Légumes du Cameroun (SOFRULECAM) was created in the frame of the APONH project. This social enterprise is providing new openings for vegetable farmers, allowing them to sell their products locally to a network of private and professional clients.

The IECD also relies on a network of local associations, which work to implement and deploy programmes. Thus, in Africa, four local structures working together in the Enterprise Development Network, participate in the program’s strategy. In 2017, Madagascar Entreprises Développement was constituted as an independent Madagascan association and became the fifth member of the Enterprise Development Network. The IECD continues to support the empowerment of its local partners, in particular by improving their human resources andthrough local fundraising.


Women who create their own businesses represent half of the players in the casual labor sector. However, they face many obstacles and the income generated from their activities has a limited potential for growth. Often in charge of the family budget in addition to their business, it is often them who, nevertheless, will have the greatest impact on the household. The IECD’s programs target their financial independence as an essential vector for lasting economic development. To that end, the IECD is committed to understanding the problems of gender so as to offer adapted responses. The development of training, such as Top Sales, or support for agri-food enterprises, has already helped to reach a mainly feminine audience of entrepreneurs. Nowadays, women represent more than 45% of the entrepreneurs from the VSE program and 70% of those from the TRANSFORM program.

Hélène Eyatta,
Beneficiary of performance monitoring, Yaoundé, Cameroon

“I have been a dressmaker since 2001. When I followed the Basic Management training (BMT), I became aware of the challenges of entrepreneurship. I thought that marketing was for men, not for me! I understood that tailor-made dressmaking, as I was doing, means a great deal of work for very little profit. Therefore, I decided to focus on batch production: now I have five employees and lots of orders! My next goal is to have a proper brand. The first step: to invest in two new sewing machines and electric scissors to make the work less difficult and increase production, then to hire two more dressmakers!”