Align business support services

Policy Instruments


Business development services (BDS) are a “wide array of non-financial services critical to the entry, survival, productivity, competitiveness, and growth” of BOP businesses.[1] BDS interventions can be an effective instrument for policy makers to support private sector growth in BOP markets. For inclusive businesses, BDS can be delivered in the form of operational and strategic business consultancies, skills transfer, marketing assistance, cost management, and technology development. Although BDS do not include direct financial support, they can be used to facilitate access to credit and other financial services, such as banking and financial planning.

BDS providers, such as government agencies, NGOs, private firms, or industry associations should perform comprehensive assessments of the local BOP market and develop their services in collaboration with their clients according to their specific needs. In order to be effective and sustainable, services should be provided in a business-like manner at affordable prices and should build upon the existing local models. Successful BDS providers will empower inclusive business entrepreneurs and drive private sector growth in BOP markets. They can provide knowledge, networks, and support to pilot inclusive business models.

Case Example

Egypt: Providing access to financial services

GiroNil was established in January 2005 in Cairo, Egypt, as a joint venture, a public-private partnership of local and international banks and financial institutions, such as ING. The company piloted closely with local banks and large institutions to develop and implement a shared cashless (giro) payment system. In April 2010, GiroNil was selected by the Central Bank of Egypt, to co-develop the national Automated Clearing House for Egypt (ACH) with the Egyptian Banks Company (EBC) to modernize the banking sector and offer banking services to all Egyptians.

Egypt is fundamentally a cash-based economy, where cash is used in 97 percent of all transactions in the Egyptian market. About 90 percent of Egyptian citizens are unbanked and manage their finances outside formal banking institutions. Until recently, banking systems in Egypt were only accessible to wealthy individuals, tourists and a small base of workers. GiroNil and its partners  offer easy, convenient access to basic financial services to all members of society throughout Egypt.

Under the ACH program, GiroNil and the EBC implement innovative and sustainable financial tools and solutions that are suitable for previously unbanked customers. By using post office outlets as financial transaction centers, a familiar outlet is now a gateway to important financial services.

Through an electronic payment system and socialization of electronic cards, GiroNil is helping to bring millions in Egypt into the formal banking system. Further, GiroNil and its partners have developed micro financing programs to offer credit to low-income individuals and “micro payments” to enable low-income individuals to make payments with fewer transaction costs.

As of 2010, half a million pensions and salary payments were being processed through the GiroNil system and the CBE’s strategy to increase this level is through the use of electronic cards. Payment to government employees through six million debit cards, pension payments through four to six million specific cards and promoting pre-paid cards designed to pay for government services.


Additional Resources


[1] Committee of Donor Agencies for Small Enterprise Development. 2001. Business Development Services for Small Enterprises: Guiding Principles for Donor Intervention. Washington, DC: World Bank Group.