This seminar was the 57th installment of the Linking Small Firms to Competitiveness Strategies Breakfast Seminar Series sponsored by the USAID Microenterprise Development office. Mr. Rana began his presentation by introducing the Making Markets Work for the Poor (M4P) program, which offers an approach to poverty reduction that donors have been supporting over the past decade. Swisscontact has been successfully implementing the pioneer M4P program, Katalyst, in Bangladesh since 2002.
M4P is unique in that it addresses poverty by integrating the poor into markets as producers, workers, and consumers. Rana discussed how M4P evolved from the conventional SME development approach, which had an organization focus, to a Business Development Services approach, which has the issue of limited impact, to the M4P approach, which addresses both informal rules and surrounding services. Rana then provided a comparison between USAID's value chain framework and M4P, noting that the latter has more emphasis on rules and norms, more flexibility in planning and it has applications in healthcare, ICT, and public services.
Rana highlighted some of Katalyst's impressive results, then moved to discussing options for measuring results or impacts. The presentation closed by looking at the lessons learned and challenges faced by Katalyst. The last slide lists several references for those who would like to look at the program in more depth.
Prashant Rana has worked in small enterprise development and private sector promotion for more than 20 years. Since 2007, he has been based in Jakarta, Indonesia, as Swisscontact’s Deputy Regional Director for South East Asia. Prashant was formerly posted in Bangladesh where he managed the multi-donor funded market development project: “Katalyst” – Markets for the Poor (M4P). He continues to work as Technical Advisor to the project. Currently, Prashant is helping start up a large M4P project in Nepal. He has been a regular speaker at Springfield training courses and ILO workshops. His previous work includes long-term assignments in Nepal and Bangladesh and short-term assignments in Sri Lanka, Vietnam, the Philippines and India. He holds an Masters degree in public policy and public administration from the London School of Economics.