Poverty Reduction through Small Enterprises

There is increasing recognition that private sector development has an important role to play in poverty reduction. The private sector, including small enterprises, creates and sustains the jobs necessary for poor people to work and earn the income needed to purchase goods and services. Two years ago, the ILO’s Small Enterprise Development Programme (SEED) initiated a process of internal discussion and review, assisted by outside experts, on the important issue of poverty reduction. This paper is a product of that process. Both the paper and the process complement the larger initiative taken by the ILO to make the fight against poverty a central element of its agenda. Through the Director-General’s Report, Working Out of Poverty, and the many initiatives guided by that report, the ILO has joined with its partners in taking up the challenge posed by the most important of the Millennium Development Goals, reducing by half the incidence of world poverty by 2015.