Our Work

Business Enabling Environment

A strong business enabling environment is foundational to private sector competitiveness, attracting investment, fostering enterprise growth, and creating jobs. IESC systemically strengthens the capacity of the private sector to effectively dialogue with the government to identify policy and regulatory bottlenecks and set a policy reform agenda. We simultaneously strengthen the capacity of governments to revise their policies and implement reforms. Our business enabling environment strengthening efforts include utilizing a Policy Prioritization Tool to maximize impact and helping governments to re-engineer and digitalize administrative procedures to boost efficiency.

Program Examples


Linkages for Small and Medium Enterprises (LinkSME)

Funder: USAID

Program Overview: LinkSME built the capacity of Vietnamese business support organizations to advance linkages between Vietnamese small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and lead firms, thereby enhancing the capacity of SMEs to participate in global supply chains. Improved and increased business linkages help Vietnamese firms generate jobs, improve livelihoods, and encourage entrepreneurial innovation. Additionally, the program reduced major barriers limiting SME growth across Vietnam and helped to institutionalize key reforms.

Relation to IESC Expertise: IESC advanced business enabling environment reform in Vietnam through the identification, review, and assessment of administrative procedures and business requirements that create barriers to SME participation in global value chains. On the LinkSME project, IESC promoted institutional reforms, simplified regulations, and administrative procedures, and reduced compliance costs to improve SME competitiveness. Working with the Administration Procedure Control Agency of the Office of the Government, we helped simplify administrative procedures in Government electronic services relating to business registration, export-import procedures, land use, production safety, and tax payments, and helped inform the implementation of a “one-stop-shop” model.


Enabling Growth through Investment and Enterprise (ENGINE)

Funder: USAID

Program Overview: ENGINE encouraged domestic and foreign investment in Tanzania’s rapidly growing economy. Focused in key agricultural regions, program activities delivered by program staff, local consultants, and volunteer experts implemented policies for growth, equipped small and medium businesses for growth, and increased access to finance for growth.

Relation to IESC Expertise: Under ENGINE, IESC improved public sector capacity to implement policies, leading to business vitality, growth, and investment due to more streamlined systems that better guide businesses. IESC created and introduced two innovative tools for local governments to bring reforms and improvements to the local and rural business enabling environment. The Local Government Authority Competitive Index (LGACI) is used by local governments to measure business enabling environment and pro-growth policies at the district level. Combined with a Policy Prioritization Tool, the LGACI questionnaire and assessment process enabled Local Government Authorities (LGAs) to continuously assess the competitive business environment.


Assistance in Building Afghanistan by Developing Enterprises (ABADE)

Funder: USAID

Program Overview: ABADE was a flagship enterprise development program that primarily focused on strengthening the productivity of enterprises for sustained growth and job creation. ABADE’s objectives were to increase domestic and foreign investment, stimulate employment, and improve sales of Afghan products. ABADE did so by helping small and medium enterprises (SMEs) access the appropriate equipment and technologies, technical assistance, business-specific inputs, and business enabling environment support that they needed to succeed.

Relation to IESC Expertise: On the ABADE program, IESC partnered with Afghanistan’s Ministry of Commerce and Industries to complete action plans that identified constraints faced by businesses in the marble, carpet, agribusiness, construction materials, and gemstones and jewelry industries and by women-owned SMEs more broadly. As constraints were identified, ABADE mobilized stakeholder support to address these constraints by developing services and procedures for helping SMEs address issues and support legal, regulatory, and administrative reforms to improve the business environment in Afghanistan. Our women’s SME action plan involved multilevel public-private dialogues to identify the key obstacles faced by women entrepreneurs and develop solutions to these problems.

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