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Multi-stakeholder Network for Local Enterprise


Lead Contact:

Michael Burke
Local Enterprise Development Coordinator
Stakeholder Forum for Our Common Future.
Tel: +44 0207 089 4305


A Local Enterprise is an enterprise started with a local initiative, is need-based, preferably using local raw materials, skills and appropriate technology, is locally owned and managed, selling to local and / or other markets within a fair trading system.


Vision: To support the development of sustainable enterprise at local level.



To develop a multi-stakeholder network that is not-for-profit, initially to pool and exchange information, support, lessons learned, and problem support

That will evolve into an actual, physical exchange network

That is centralised enough to provide a single, cohesive resource, yet

Decentralised enough to provide cultural relevance

That can act in an advisory capacity for companies wishing to address the triple bottom line values of economic, environmental and social development.

The Local Enterprise Development Network will focus on poor communities who lack information, capacity or opportunity to develop sustainable local enterprise.

The network will concentrate on the development of enterprise started with local initiative, will be need (scale etc.) based, preferably using local raw materials, skills and appropriate technology, to be locally owned and managed, selling to local and / or other markets within a fair trading system.



Increase awareness of the importance of sustainable local enterprise and its contribution to poverty alleviation, social inclusion and empowerment and gender equity.

Provide a central resource for those entrepreneurs wishing to establish an enterprise. This resource will promote the sustainable development of enterprise through exchange information, support, lessons learned and problem support – and will potentially evolve into an actual physical exchange network within the fair trade criteria.


Proposed Outputs:

Central website / information centre for the network

Local information centres


Networks for advocacy, research and development and monitoring to match support to needs.


Work Programme: Phase 1

Establishment of a Steering Committee (see below for membership)

Defined goals, actions and strategies

Establishment of a communication system

Fundraising for seed / start-up funding

Organisational development (as per steering committee recommendations)


Collaborating organisations:

Africa Now (Zimbabwe), Cape Town Municipality (South Africa), Enterplan (United Kingdom), Microfinance Centre for C&EE and the NIS (Poland), Open University (United Kingdom), Oxfam India (India), Sexto Sol (Mexico and Guatemala), South African Local Government (South Africa), Stakeholder Forum for Our Common Future (United Kingdom), Unilever (Netherlands)


Steering Committee Membership

Jane Nyoni – Africa Now (Zimbabwe), Carne Blandy – Cape Town Municipality (South Africa), Robert Fitch – Enterplan (United Kingdom), Marcin Fijalkowski - Microfinance Centre for C&EE and the NIS (Poland), Gary Alexander - Open University (United Kingdom), Gurinder Kaur – Women’s Livelihood Development, Oxfam India (India), Tamara Brennan – Director, Sexto Sol (Mexico and Guatemala), Nontsha Sophia Nciza – South African Local Government (South Africa), Anne Weir – Senior Advisor on Sustainable Development, Unilever (Netherlands)


Additional background information

Initially this project developed as a platform from which to address issues of ethical / fair trading at Stakeholder Forum’s Implementation Conference (IC) in Johannesburg, South Africa (please see Through consultation with many leading organizations involved with this area of trade it was decided that the IC could best add value to existing efforts by focusing on enterprise development at a community / local level, to provide underdeveloped sectors of society with opportunities to diversify their income sources, to create community interdependence and to create stronger bargaining positions, thereby generating income security.

The three-day workshop at the IC included an array of stakeholders, ranging from large multinational corporations to small non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) and academia, representing diverse geographical and social backgrounds, both South and North. During, and as a result of this workshop, the Local Enterprise Development Network and steering committee were created.

The network will focus on the development of enterprise that will encourage local interdependence and will contribute to poverty alleviation, social inclusion, empowerment and gender equity.

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