A number of retrospective reviews have derived important lessons from the experience of a wide range of enterprise development organizations. Most concentrated, however, on the experiences of the agency commissioning the particular study, rather than examining what kind of enterprise development strategies organizations should adopt in different situations. In this paper the authors assert that the strategy for enterprise development is contingent upon certain variables which they proceed to define. They then describe the critical tasks which must be addressed to match the requirements of each type of situation, and examine the capabilities an organization must have to address these tasks.
A sub-sectoral approach to enterprise development has the capacity to identify particular factors limiting the incomes of poor producers in the manufacturing chain of a particular item. In dealing with such bottlenecks it is sometimes possible to have a much wider impact upon poor people's incomes than other approaches to poverty alleviation, which may be limited to a geographical area. A further advantage of the sub-sectoral approach is that rapidly growing sub-sectors may be identified and poor producers enabled to take over more profitable elements of the manufacturing chain, so as to benefit from the growth. This article describes the work of PRADAN in north India, and gives case studies of how a sub-sectoral analysis of production has enabled disadvantaged groups to increase their skills or change their working patterns and to sell higher-value produce, thereby earning a better income.