Enterprise Development

Driving Economic Growth through Productive Markets

ACDI/VOCA facilitates economic growth and poverty reduction by working through market systems. This approach drives wealth creation while ensuring that benefits reach down the supply chain to small-scale producers and other poor economic actors. Furthermore, ACDI/VOCA has in recent years been instrumental in formulating best practices and standards for market-system approaches and in helping the international development community adopt them.

We examine an entire market system in order to identify and address both constraints to growth and opportunities to increase competitiveness. We implement enterprise development projects that engage at critical leverage points where catalytic change can be triggered. Focusing not only on the value chain actors themselves, but also business support services, policymakers, and end-market buyers and consumers, ACDI/VOCA builds the capacity of the whole market system to respond to shifting demand.

Our Approach

Evidence-Based and Learning-Focused

ACDI/VOCA stays on the cutting edge of the enterprise development and value chain development fields by ensuring our program designs and implementation strategies reflect proven best practices yet appropriately challenge the status quo and are carefully monitored for performance. Emphasizing the development of a robust learning culture within our project teams, headquarters staff, and the broader development community, ACDI/VOCA regularly collects and disseminates field-based evidence as well as instructive lessons from around the world to inform management decisions and assess the “why” behind success or failure.


ACDI/VOCA has pioneered the use of value chain analysis as a tool with which development partners and private sector decisionmakers identify ways to increase the productivity and competitiveness of the industry in which they operate, while expanding the depth and breadth of benefits generated. ACDI/VOCA uses ongoing analysis to understand and improve relationships and incentives throughout the entire market system.

Map value chains framework


» Click for high-resolution version of value chain diagram.


Market-Driven and Facilitative Implementation

With a constant focus on the end market, ACDI/VOCA works through the private sector to facilitate critical linkages in national and global markets that will sustainably enhance growth and reduce poverty. We emphasize the potential for small enterprises as well as large companies to drive investment and growth that is beneficial to poor communities. By using a “light touch” that emphasizes building relationships, knowledge, and local capacity, ACDI/VOCA ensures buy-in from businesses and the services that support them, thus providing sustainable impact.

Inclusive Growth

While ensuring that our strategies are commercially driven and viable, we also work with businesses to integrate vulnerable populations—such as the very poor, women, and youth—as part of supply chains or as end consumers. We support a wide range of business models, from corporations to cooperatives and farmer-based organizations, in addressing challenges that prevent the poor from engaging in effective market systems. These efforts build resilience to economic and environmental shocks, as well as the capacity of local actors to engage with vulnerable groups in competitive value chains.

A Selection of Past Projects