Center for Entrepreneurship & Executive DevelopmentThe Center for Entrepreneurship and Executive Development (CEED), co-founded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Small Enterprise Assistance Fund (SEAF), a US venture capital fund focused on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in eastern and southeastern Europe, started up in Bulgaria in September 2005.
CEED has since expanded to Romania, Slovenia, Montenegro, and Macedonia and also cooperates with the Center for Entrepreneurship (CFE) in Russia. The plan is eventually to be up and running in all the countries of southeastern Europe.
CEED's goal is to help SMEs grow faster through three types of assistance:
- Training of entrepreneurs and their management teams
- Networking. Entrepreneurs can share ideas, and experienced entrepreneurs serve as mentors to those in the early stages of building companies. Networking events connect entrepreneurs with potential investors, potential local and international business partners, the media, and academic experts.
- Disseminating know-how on accessing global markets.
- Target entrepreneurs’ specific growth needs, concentrating on local case studies
- Use entrepreneurs as trainers, so participants are learning from people with firsthand business experience
- Foster discussion of common issues, providing the opportunity for interaction, networking, and peer learning
- Deliver content in short, practical courses that fit into busy schedules
You can get an idea of the content of a Top Class program by looking at the calendar of events for the 2006-2007 program in Slovenia.
It should be noted that CEED views entrepreneurship "as a positive value which can contribute to the development of more open, flexible and creative companies" and takes as part of its mission "to promote entrepreneurial values and culture in the broader society."
It remains to be seen how readily and how well this perspective takes root. In Macedonia, the country I've looked at most closely, the government has been instituting policies to make it easier to do business in the country. This suggests alignment with the CEED philosophy. (See the World Bank's "Doing Business" findings on Macedonia, described here and summarized here.)
1 From www.ceed-macedonia.com.
Labels: Management practices