Private Sector Development (PSD)
The PSD team grows revenues for businesses in a defined target market that is women-owned businesses or those whose staff is comprised of at least 10 percent women. The PSD team responds to the current needs of the SME sector through three primary focus areas that include professionalizing management, increasing access to finance, and entrepreneurship development
Business Evaluations and Referrals
This activity is designed to address the lack of professional managerial expertise in Afghan SMEs and a reluctance to hire professional service providers, such as accountants, web designers, bookkeepers, and the like. Following an evaluation of a business, WIE’s PSD team identifies the specific need of the SME and refers the business owner to an appropriate service provider. Once the service provider assesses the business, recommendations are made. Common recommendations include: the implementation of sales and marketing strategies such as brochures and websites, or the use of professional accounting software to better understand a company’s bottom line. WIE is currently developing a min-grant financial aid mechanism that will provide partial funding to carry out some recommendations provided to WIE client businesses by the programs network of business service providers.
Through the Master of Business Administration (MBA) Corps activity, WIE demonstrates the value of professionally trained managers to small business owners, some of whom cling to traditional family run business practices and are reluctant to bring in professionals perceived to be ‘outsiders’. MBA Business Matchmaking Roundtables pair MBA graduates with target businesses, and the activity further prepars the MBA graduates for their assignments, and then mentors the MBA in their work with the business as well as mentoring the business owner in managing their staff. Mentoring is an important aspect of this activity; it helps the business owner understand how to incorporate new ideas into her business as well as helping the recent MBA learn how to be more effective in his or her new role. Currently operating in Kabul, the MBA Corps will soon expand into WIEs other regions of operations.
Access to finance is an essential ingredient for business growth, with commercial banks and microfinance lending being key ingredients of business finance. WIE works to network women entrepreneurs, businesses that fit the WIE criteria (10 percent of the employees are women) and financial institutions, and assists these business owners in making the right choice in applying for the loan product best suited to the businesses expansion needs.
One of the issues identified as a barrier to growth for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) is the lack of professional management skills and expertise that are required for a business to grow beyond a certain stage. Without these skills, the business often stops growing and may even fail. Intended to address the need to professionalize management, the Entrepreneurship Toolkit helps trouble shoot and support the growth of private businesses. The toolkit is distributed to WIE client businesses and serves as a reference book so that these businesses can utilize the information as needed in different components of their businesses. The toolkit is currently under development and will be available in two levels. Level I will address startup and micro-sized artisanal businesses, and level II will address the SME market, and