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Growing Small and Medium Enterprises: What Works?

Event Date: 
May 14, 2019
9:00 am to 10:30 am EDT
Online Event
Marketlinks & USAID's Office of Trade & Regulatory Reform


On Tuesday, May 14th, 2019,  Marketlinks hosted webinar to discuss the latest global evidence and USAID/Vietnam's SME activity plans; and shared ideas for how to design or refresh your SME theory of change.

Growing small and medium enterprises (SMEs) is an important goal for USAID and many donors, but evidence on what works is still emerging. This webinar was hosted by USAID's Office of Trade & Regulatory Reform to launch a report, Theories of Change: High-Growth SME Development. Natalie Shemwell of Resonance presented the latest evidence in developing countries organized around theories of change for business management, access to finance, business registration and taxes, market access, and innovation. Ron Ashkin of International Executive Service Corps (IESC) discussed USAID/Vietnam's LinkSME activity, designing its theories of change around management consulting and market linkages, and plans for adaptive management using these frameworks.

Check out post-event resources in the sidebar, including a two-page summary of the report. 


Headshot: Anastasia
de Santos

Anastasia de Santos is an economist with USAID’s Trade & Regulatory Reform Office in Washington, DC.

She has worked in USAID's Bureau for Economic Growth, Education & Environment since 2008, and currently supports private sector development for USAID in Latin America and the Caribbean, the “Generation” youth employment partnership with McKinsey Social Initiative, and two impact evaluations on women’s SME entrepreneurship. At USAID, she also co-authored growth diagnostics for El Salvador and Bangladesh as well as the Women’s Entrepreneurship Diagnostic tool. She has a Master's in International Affairs from Columbia University, concentrating in international economic policy, and a Bachelor’s degree from Yale in Sociology.

Headshot: Ron
International Development Economist

Ron Ashkin is an international development economist specializing in sustainable private sector development in emerging markets.

Ron has professional experience in more than 60 countries around the globe, with expertise in market systems development, enterprise development, strategy, competitiveness, and international trade and investment. He currently serves as Project Director on USAID’s Linkages for Small and Medium Enterprises (LinkSME) Project in Vietnam. Ron has created private sector and industrial development strategies for sovereign governments, managed networks of enterprise assistance centers serving thousands of private firms, implemented local supplier development programs, and more. Ron holds degrees from Harvard University and The Wharton School.

headshot Natalie
Manager, Resonance

Natalie Shemwell is a Manager in the Inclusive Markets practice at Resonance, a small woman-owned global consulting firm which works across four key areas: corporate sustainability, impact investin

g, unlocking frontier markets, and global development. The firm’s core mission is to bridge the gap between global development agendas and private sector interests. Ms. Shemwell brings experience in international development with a background in private sector development and partnerships. She currently supports projects focused on job growth, competitiveness, and disaster preparedness and is conducting and managing a number of research and cross-sector partnership initiatives for USAID, international charities, and private sector clients. Ms. Shemwell is also the Manager of the Trade and Competitiveness Activity (TCA) with USAID E3 Bureau’s Trade and Regulatory Reform (TRR) Office and is leading the activity’s research on Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) development. Prior to joining Resonance, Ms. Shemwell worked for several development consulting firms where she supported successful multi-million dollar USAID stabilization programs. She earned an MA in International Affairs from American University and a BSc in Political Science and French from Clemson University.

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