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Browse recent blogs of interest to the Marketlinks community. Use the search box or the filters on the left-hand side to refine the listing of blogs by keyword, topic, and/or region/country.

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Women Entrepreneurs Weather COVID -19 Years after the Project Closed

November 29, 2022
This blog was authored by Tess Bayombong, Maria Adelma Montejo, Emily Janoch, Caitlin Shannon, and Tzusuan Peng. Women entrepreneurs who talk about success in their businesses in the Philippines have fascinating contributions to what success means. Cecile Corio describes an arc of resilience and equality: “I think of ways to recover (my business). Don’t lose trust in yourself. I started from nothing; I can prove that I can lead a better life. … My husband and I have a good give-and-take relationship.”

Opening Doors to Private Equity in the Western Balkans

November 21, 2022
USAID CATALYZE Partners with Private Equity Fund to Ready SMEs for Private Investors Increasingly, global private investors are eyeing the Western Balkans as the potential for diversifying their portfolios. While private equity financing can raise working capital for a company through restructuring ownership and/or management, few small- and medium-sized business owners in the region are aware of, understand, or desire such a private equity model. In fact, many SME owners resist giving up power and ownership to outsiders.

Bolstering Economic Dynamism in the Western Balkans

June 16, 2022
In early 2022, the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia) started to emerge from the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic, boasting rising industrial production, exports to the European Union (EU), increases in wages, and credit growth. The region is ripe for investment, but Russia’s war against Ukraine threatens this recovery, through higher energy and food costs, disruption in supply chains, and interruptions in trade.

Farmer Cooperatives in the Philippines Boast Key Advantage: Knowing the Local Context

May 25, 2022
In the way that cooperatives form when people with common interests come together, apex organizations form when several of those cooperatives organize to achieve common goals. Farming cooperatives have the unique advantage of being engrained in the local context and knowledgeable about their sector. Their value is providing farmers with advantages that make them more profitable than they would be outside of the group. Apex organizations take that farmer support a step further by strengthening the cooperative groups on a larger scale. 

Women to Lean On: Financing For Women, By Women

February 10, 2022
Biljana Stanisavljva started her small business in Serbia in 2011, growing wheat and corn as a smallholder farmer. She wants to grow her business, but like many agricultural entrepreneurs, she finds it very challenging to obtain funds for her expansion plans. And as a woman, she faces additional challenges. Even after a decade as a registered business owner, she still has to rely on her husband for most business decisions. 

Are We Too Focused on Access to Credit? Agent Banks Boost Resiliency During COVID-19 Pandemic

November 16, 2021
In early 2020, the Feed the Future Bangladesh Rice and Diversified Crops Activity, funded by USAID and implemented by ACDI/VOCA, began an assessment to understand how the Activity could increase financial access for agricultural small- and medium-sized enterprises (agri-SMEs) in Bangladesh during COVID-19. The assessment originally focused on opportunities for the Activity to increase financial access through agent banks during the pandemic.

5 Myths about Youth and Employment

August 6, 2021
Over 67 million youth are unemployed globally and the majority live in rural areas with limited economic opportunities. The fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic has overwhelmingly impacted youth whose employment fell by more than twice that of adults in 2020.

Pandemic Challenges Reveal Cambodian Adaptability: A Case Study in the Vegetable Sector

January 13, 2021
As COVID-19 circumvented the globe impacting every nation, sector, business, and family, it brought numerous challenges in its wake.  In developing countries – where market systems are often fragmented, connections between market actors weak, and businesses’ reserves limited – perishable products like vegetables were particularly hard hit. Both the supply and demand were affected by the shock. As the crisis deepened, some market actors lost considerable revenue and some went out of business.

Youth Inclusion in Market Systems

September 28, 2020
Youth — who make up a large portion of the potential workforce in developing countries — are often left out of markets systems, representing a significant lost opportunity to deliver social and economic benefits. 

Can Rural Development Programs Build Resilience to the COVID-19 Pandemic?

September 18, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic and the measures national governments around the world are taking to contain it have created new challenges for families who were already vulnerable to a number of climate-related disaster risks. New research supported by USAID is learning whether investments in broadly based resilience helps families to withstand even this completely unexpected and global shock.