Intervention challenges


Lack of access to professional services

A lack of professional services refers to cases where professional services are either missing or there is an unwillingness to pay for them. Examples could include cases where businesses lack adequate BDS support, where farmers lack extension services, or where there is a dearth of other needed support services.

Professional services often fail to develop in rural economies due to the challenge of developing a low cost service that poor consumers could afford. This means that these types of services often end up being niche and catered to companies that can afford them.

Institutional approaches to the delivery of business development: A review of recent literature

Ways to take a systems lens to the challenge of building markets for business development services, with applicable guidance for other professional services.

When seeking to develop markets for professional services, tread carefully. Often, programmes are too willing to jump into technical capacity-building (See Technical capacity building) themselves or do not recognise that they are operating in a nascent market where consumers are simply not ready to pay for niche services.

Capacity building for market systems development

Analysis of the capacity building system for market system development practitioners.

Useful approaches may include:

  • Buying down risk to firms. As with other partners, nascent professional service companies often have a lack of access to capital and finance needed to experiment with their business model.
  • Stakeholder coordination. As a market facilitator it may be useful to start to formalize an industry into associations that can advocate for its needs.

There are parallels between building markets from professional services in markets systems programmes and the growing social business strategy of ‘ecosystem’ development. Drawing from the market systems development playbook, the latter approach involves ensuring that there is vibrant market context in which business development service providers can thrive and, in turn, support small and growing businesses.

Beyond the Pioneer

How market-based solutions can get to large scale.