Poverty reduction through small enterprises: Emerging consensus, unresolved issues and ILO activities

SEED Working Paper No. 75

The paper explores the interesting connections between ILO's work on developing the small enterprise economy and the task of poverty reduction. It also outlines the international initiatives of the past half-decade which have raised the profile of poverty as the prime issue of economic development and social justice. The increasing importance given to how private sector development can support poverty reduction is also discussed.

In addition, the paper highlights the difficulties of assessing the impact of enterprise development not just on the enterprises themselves, but on poor workers, entrepreneurs and their families. It is an issue into which the ILO and the international community need to channel more energy. In the fifth chapter, the paper outlines a strategy that SEED might adopt – after further consultation and revision – to focus its programme on poverty.