Every seed deserves good soil to grow

The EESE programme works to improve the enabling conditions
for enterprise creation and growth,
creating fertile ground for a successful business.


The EESE team aims to improve the Enabling Environment for Sustainable Enterprises, by:

  • allowing stakeholders to identify the major constraints hampering business development
  • fostering dialogue between workers, employers and governments to reach shared policy recommendations
  • supporting the adoption of effective reforms
  • unlocking entrepreneurial potential, boosting investments and generating economic growth, creating better jobs and reducing poverty

EESE uses a comprehensive and powerful methodology developed to assess, advocate and reform the environment in which enterprises start up and grow.

Small and medium enterprises are often hit harder by an unconducive enabling environment. Improving it helps them to access new services to:

  • perform better
  • reduce their cost of doing business
  • unlock investment opportunities
  • create more decent and productive employment

The ILO and the Enabling Environment for Sustainable Enterprises

In 2007, the International Labour Conference adopted the Conclusions Concerning the Promotion of Sustainable Enterprises. The conclusions define an Enabling Environment for Sustainable Enterprises, which combines these elements:

Respect for
human dignity
quest for profit

The EESE programme is the real-world application of the 2007 Conclusions. Through EESE, the ILO helps its tripartite constituents - governments, employers, and workers - assess the enabling environment, define action plans for change, and implement reforms that make it easier to start and grow businesses that create more and better jobs.

What is an Enabling Environment

It is the combination of conditions that affect an enterprise's capacity to start up, grow and create decent jobs.

Peace and political stability
Good governance
Social dialogue
Universal human rights and International Labour Standards
Macroeconomic policy and sound management of the economy
Trade and sustainable economic integration
Enabling legal and regulatory environment
Rule of law and property rights
Fair competition
Access to financial services
Physical infrastructure
Information and Communication Technologies
Entrepreneurial culture Education, training and lifelong learning
Social justice and social inclusion
Adequate social protection
Responsible stewardship of the environment

An enabling environment seeks to improve the economic prospects, particularly of small and medium enterprises, overcome decent work deficits for workers and ensure that economic activities are environmentally sustainable.

How it works

EESE designs and implements activities with the ultimate goal of creating more and better jobs in small and medium enterprises. Our theory of change shows how, by supporting tripartite partners in analyzing the enabling environment, developing action plans, designing and implementing reforms, EESE contributes to improving the enabling environment, thus making enterprises an engine to create more and better job.

The assessment process

The first step in any EESE intervention is an assessment of the current situation of the enabling environment. EESE works with ILO constituents and local stakeholders to assess, based on constituents' demand, the enterprises' economic, political, social, and environmental context, and prioritize reforms. Based on the results of the assessment, the partners agree on action plans for reform.

Added value of the EESE approach

Our methodology uses information from a range of sources, including secondary data and macro-level indicators, enterprise surveys, interviews with key informants, and participatory workshops
Our processes involve all the key stakeholders, including representatives from the private sector (employers’ organizations), employees (trade unions) and regulators (government)
Our approach relies on collaboration among local stakeholders. Validation and consultation workshops are built into the process to create ownership by local actors

Knowledge generation and dissemination

We go beyond country level enabling environment assessments. The EESE team also works to document and promote effective policy initiatives to improve the Enabling Environment for Sustainable Enterprises, through:

  • Case studies on what works and what doesn't for business environment reform
  • Contribution to training courses on policy support for enterprise development
  • Thematical partnerships with other international agencies

EESE also develops new knowledge and technical skills on the Enabling Environment for Sustainable Enterprises, on issues such as:

  • Labour law and small and medium enterprises
  • Conducive policies for post-COVID recovery

Preferential tax regimes, just transition and business environment, use of big data for policy design...

Our experience and achievements

As of December 2020



Enterprises surveyed


Workers interviewed

Thematical action plans

Business environment
reforms implemented