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Cordaid NL
Private Sector Development

Fostering economic growth

Director Private Sector Development & Resilience

Heleen van der Beek

Economic empowerment

Through Private Sector Development, Cordaid supports those in the world’s most fragile contexts into decent work and livelihoods. Our programs provide communities with the means to lift themselves out of poverty through economic empowerment, job creation and the fostering of inclusive economic growth.

In Fragile and Conflict-Affected States (FCAS), the need for inclusive economic growth is even greater still – to demonstrate the benefits of peace, to integrate communities and build social cohesion and trust, and to reintegrate displaced persons, those suffering from trauma, and returnees.

In generating economic opportunities, Cordaid eases the socioeconomic pressures of migration, empowers and includes the marginalised, and provides everyday people with a sense of purpose, hope for a brighter future and the potential to fulfil their dreams. This is done so while considering the unique challenges different groups, such as female entrepreneurs, may face. This allows for context-specific support in setting-up and growing their businesses.

What we do

Through collaboration with the private sector, we provide people with the dignity of working their own way out of poverty and generate long-term sustainable development for the future. The private sector of many developing countries consists primarily of informal microenterprises operating alongside a limited number of large firms. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which can be important contributors to equitable economic growth and job creation, are often lacking or few in number. Cordaid’s Private Sector Development efforts aim to address this ‘missing middle’ by supporting SMEs with an innovative two-track strategy: Resilient Business Development Services and Access to Finance.

We run several programs as part of our Private Sector Development efforts. Our Resilient Business Development Services Program (RBDS) supports SMEs in countries such as Sierra Leone and Ethiopia, with the aim of accelerating their businesses and encouraging their economic and social impact. This is done through promoting stronger business management capacity, supporting the formation of business structures, giving SMEs the opportunity to apply for and receive investment and growth financing, and providing training on accessing finance. RBDS also provides local young entrepreneurs – 60% of which are women – with better access to finance.

Additionally, we work with specific groups within society that may be facing unique obstacles in accessing the labour market. Our Bright Future program in Afghanistan offers young individuals with training in the job searching and application process, support in kickstarting their businesses, and follow-up business development support to their SMEs once established.

Our support of female entrepreneurship in fragile and conflict-affected states aims to account for the unique challenges women can face in accessing the private sector, especially when they are in the demographic of marginalised groups in society. Cordaid currently provides a total of 64 female owned businesses with training, technical assistance and mentorship to assist them in attracting investors and making their business flourish.

A day at the metal workplace of Frances Rose in Makeni, Sierra Leone. Image: Heleen van der Beek / Cordaid.

In the Netherlands

In the Netherlands, Cordaid’s Cooperative Entrepreneurship (COIN) program supports initiatives and municipalities that want to establish a social cooperative. In collaboration with various parties, such as local businesses and civil society organizations, Cordaid helps social cooperatives become sustainable. Read more about the COIN program in The Netherlands.

  • >65 SMEs trained since 2016
  • 27 social cooperatives supported by Cordaid
  • 22 municipalities in the Netherlands

Private Sector Development Services

Thematic expertise

  • Delivery of resilient business development services in the form of training courses, coaching programs and mentoring;
  • Access to sector, product and business specific knowledge and expertise;
  • Provision of network events, keynote speakers and action research.

Heleen van der Beek

Director Private Sector Development & Resilience

Program and grant management

  • Program and grant management in private sector development;
  • Capacity building of local business development service providers;
  • Sector specific support for enhancing value chain development.

Heleen van der Beek

Director Private Sector Development & Resilience

Investment management

The Cordaid private sector development approach is intricately linked to the work of Cordaid Investments. Our two-track approach makes SMEs investment ready and increases their chances to have access to finance by applying Cordaid Investment selection criteria. By thus helping to create sustainable businesses, able to act as promoters of local economic growth and job creation, Cordaid ensures high economic and social impact.

Heleen van der Beek

Director Private Sector Development & Resilience

Private Sector Development team

Heleen van der Beek

Director Private Sector Development & Resilience

Marten Tjaart Raadsveld

Business adviser

Lennert de Vries

Business adviser

Mike Sips

Monitoring & evaluation

Nigel Ellams

Expert in Private Sector Development

Mieke van Tilburg

Program manager