Market Assessment

Enterprise for Pro-Poor Growth Socio-Cultural Assessment, ILO, Sri Lanka 2006

    Enterprise for Pro-poor Growth, or Enter-Growth for short, is a project of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida), and the Ministry of Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion. Its goal is to contribute to pro-poor economic growth and quality employment for women and men, through an integrated programme for development of micro and small enterprises that targets two provinces with a high incidence of poverty (North-West and North-Central); that addresses issues at the national level that will enhance impact in the provinces; and that transfers lessons learnt to the national policy level as well as other parts of the country.

    Despite the widespread promotion of BDS, there is a general assumption among practitioners and policy planners that Sri Lanka lacks a dynamic enterprise culture that would enable more people to start and expand MSEs, especially outside the current growth hub, the Western Province. Enter-Growth aims to strengthen social and cultural support for private sector development by women and men, with a focus on poor communities. To enable the project to design effective interventions in these areas, as well as in other components of the project, Enter-Growth assessed the cultural barriers and strengths associated with development of MSEs in the four project districts. To download the report summarizing the results of this assessment, click here.

    Methods for info gathering
    The study looked at micro and small entrepreneurs, as well as those who earn their livelihood through self-employment, as people who do business within a socio-cultural environment. It also included several groups surrounding those who do business - in their role as influencers, as well as potential entrepreneurs of the future. The study focused on how the business person constituted by his/her social relations and how this might affect her/his business activity and identity within the society. Methods included secondary source research, open-ended interviews, focus group workshops, observation and language analysis.

    Summary of results
    Key conclusions included:
    - Business and social networks that extend beyond the village are the primary means of linking micro and small enterprises to medium and large enterprises.
    - Opportunity-seeking is not a high value among many micro and small entrepreneurs.
    - The predominant cultural orientation in the four districts promotes dependency attitudes in a large part of the population.
    - Interventions therefore need to work on enabling poor people to first look at their resources and options from a different angle. Secondly, their planning capacities to find new ways, to develop their self-confidence, dedication and courage to actually implement the newly found ideas and to develop a pro-active solution-finding attitude when facing problems, need to be enhanced.
    - Support of the family (or husband in the case of women) is fundamental for business start-up in all four districts.
    - The cultural costs for a young person who tried and failed are not high. This is different for an older starter.
    - The predominant cultural orientation in the four districts promotes security, ease and tranquil mind over taking the challenges of opportunity seeking and risk-taking.
    - The predominant cultural orientation promotes the start-up with not enough technical and business skills.
    - The predominant cultural orientation promotes the start-up of small, unstable businesses.
    - The predominant cultural orientation in the four districts promotes positive sales-related behaviour.
    - Many business people are proud of never having borrowed.

    Associated Activities and Documents
    Programme Design
    »Enterprise for Pro-Poor Growth, ILO, Sri Lanka 2005-8
    »Enterprise for Pro-Poor Growth Progress Reports, ILO, Sri Lanka 2005-8
    Impact Assessment
    »Enterprise for Pro-Poor Growth Baseline Reports, ILO, Sri Lanka 2006
    »The Effects of Theatre on Beliefs about Business, ILO Sri Lanka, 2007
    »Impact Assessment on the Enterprise Culture Component, ILO Sri Lanka, 2008
    »Enterprise for Pro-Poor Growth Intervention Reports, ILO, Sri Lanka, 2007-8
    Final Documentation
    »Enterprise for Pro-Poor Growth Case Studies, ILO, Sri Lanka 2005-9