Partnering with the private sector provides broader benefits to communities as well as opportunties for economic growth. With support from a number of experts, the ECF team have developed a series of thematic papers highlighting some of the achievements of these private sector projects in areas aligned with the Millennium Development Goals. Each paper also looks at lessons for future development programs.


Improved Financial Services in Cambodia 2013

Development Theme Series - Improving Financial Services in CambodiaLimited access to financial services in the developing world is one of the main obstacles to income generation and social protection. Over 4 billion people lack access to basic financial services such as credit, savings, money transfers, leases and insurance. AusAID recognises that increased access to financial services by the poor in developing countries is an important factor in poverty reduction.

Two ECF business projects in Cambodia are directly improving access to financial services and provide useful lessons on the benefits that can be directly and indirectly provided to disadvataged communities.

Both projects have reached many clients over the three years of implementation with the help of a substantial amount of public education and relationship building. Independent research into the two different approaches has been conducted and reveals interesting findings summarised in this paper.

Download a copy of the paper here.



Women's Economic Empowerment 2012

ECF - Development Theme Series - Womens Eco EmpowermentChallenge funds contribute towards economic inclusion, that is, the process of overcoming barriers to men and women participating in or contributing fully to the economic system. These barriers can include a lack of awareness and understanding, accessibility to products and services, and confidence in the system at large.

Lessons from the Australian Government’s Enterprise Challenge Fund (ECF) suggest that challenge funds can also promote gender equality, and in particular, empower women economically.

Download a copy of the paper here.




Capacity Development 2011

ECF - Development Theme Series Capacity Development 01Economic growth is critical for development outcomes and reducing poverty, and the private sector is a key driver of economic growth. The Millennium Development Goals also highlight the importance of the private sector in providing new technologies, including access to information and communication, as part of poverty alleviation. New technologies are beneficial only if they are able to be used effectively.

These case studies show how the ECF and funded companies have used a range of capacity development techniques to build individual and organisational capacity and develop ongoing relationships with suppliers and customers in rural areas.

Download a copy of the paper here.



Environment 2010

ECF - Development Theme Series Environment 03Poor people in this region have a higher dependency on natural resources such as forests, fishing, and agriculture, and are disproportionally affected by living in a degraded environment. Improved management of the environment and natural resources contributes directly to reducing poverty, promoting security and preserving the ecosystems that poor people rely on for their livelihoods. Economic growth and private sector development programs can model environmental management and good working practices to international standards, and thus protect livelihoods and reduce the impact of environmental degradation on the poor.

Partnering with the private sector can promote innovative techniques and processes that encourage communities to be aware of using natural resources rationally.

Download a copy of the paper here.


Gender 2009

ECF - Development Theme Series Gender 02A growing number of businesses are recognising positive business and development outcomes from supporting and empowering women. Development organisations have found that greater gender equality can ‘enhance productivity, improve development outcomes for the next generation, and make institutions more representative’ (World Bank 2012).

Gender equality and empowering women is the third Millennium Development Goal.

Download a copy of the paper here.