The Business Development Service (BDS) department’s goal is to support the establishment of new SMEs and enhance growth of existing ones which will result in improved productivity and job creation for the country. This will be achieved through the provision of continuous business advisory services (including mentoring, guiding the SMEs through a growth plan, innovative financing, multi-faceted improvement and innovation, operating facilities, marketing and access to market) with particular emphasis to youth and women enterprises.

The BDS service provision is rooted on the EMPRETEC model of entrepreneurship development and implementation methodology, an integrated, one-stop enterprise development and support programme. The EMPRETEC model consists of a comprehensive package of core services and ancillary interventions designed to improve the operational efficiency and enhance the competitiveness and profitability of emerging micro, small and medium enterprises both in the domestic and export markets and also small scale farmers in the rural areas. This model is revolutionary approach to enterprise development will transform the SMEs and bring the informal sector into mainstream formal economic activity.


  • Establishment of new businesses
  • Expansion of existing businesses
  • Business formalization and registration
  • Job creation


The BDS department offers 2 types of services to clients: group counseling and one-to-one counseling. The services will be demand based driven by the client. In order for a client to participate in BDS provisions, the client must graduate from EDIs training programme. During the last day of training, the participants will be introduced to BDS. If the clients are interested, they can come to the EDI office to sign up to receive group counseling, or submit an application for one-to-one services within 2 weeks. After one month of successfully completing the training programme, the client will be qualified for BDS provisions.


Group BDS

BDS clients face similar issues within the structure of their businesses. EDI has identified that their issues revolve around business plan preparation, financial management and accounting aids, marketing, operations and HR, as well as business formalization such as licensing and registration. The group counseling session focus on 1 topic (mentioned above) and last no longer than 4 hours. The group counseling will be delivered in the form of a training session on a particular topic. The session will provide participants with a brief overview of the topic and it’s applicability to everyday business in Ethiopia. The sessions will be practical and interactive and participants must walk away with a very good understanding of the topic at hand and how to apply it to their business. The sessions will be provided by BDS advisors knowledgeable in the topic. Each session will accommodate no more than 15 participants. Group counseling sessions specifically for women will also be available focusing on negotiation, communication, and assertiveness skills.


One to One BDS

These sessions will be strictly reserved for growth oriented clients that require specialized counseling services. Clients will have the opportunity to apply for the one-to-one sessions at the conclusion of the EDI training programme by thoroughly completing the BDS One-to-One application form. (See Annex 5 for sample BDS One-to-One Application Form). The form will be returned to the BDS department for review in order to determine if the client is eligible for one-to-one sessions using the following eligibility criteria:

Startup Business
• Viable business idea, visions, and implementation strategy
• Concrete business foundation (e.g creation of a business plan, marketing/promotion strategy, HR/operations strategy, etc)
• Clearly identifiable barriers for starting the business
• Has a clear vision for how BDS can assist s/he for business creation
• Clear skills set of the entrepreneur
• Works in the priority sector
Existing Business
• Has a clear vision for growth for the business
• Existing resources and capacity to realize vision
• The business is registered and a business license exists
• Concrete business foundation (e.g creation of a business plan, marketing/promotion strategy, HR/operations strategy, etc)
• Based on historical business data provided, s/he has shown signs of growth
• Has a clear vision for growth based on the increase in no. of employees and business revenue
• The business has a potential to enter the export market
• Clearly identifiable barriers for expanding the business
• Has a clear vision for how BDS can assist s/he for business expansion
• Works in the priority sector