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This report presents the key findings and recommendations of an independent evaluation of Oxfam’s Enterprise Development Programme (EDP). The evaluation was commissioned by Oxfam GB and was conducted by Bridges Ventures in 2013.

The report analyses what EDP has achieved relative to its objectives, how cost-effective the programme is, what key lessons are emerging and how EDP could look in the future. It highlights the positive impact of EDP on the livelihoods of smallholder farmers and on women’s empowerment at home and in the community. It also suggests three options for EDP’s future depending on the focus on the validation or resilience phase of an enterprise.

The Enterprise Development Programme was set up in 2008 to pioneer a business-based approach to development through investing in and building the capacity of early-stage enterprises that empower smallholder farmers, particularly women. Since then, EDP has raised nearly £5m to support 19 early-stage, rural, agricultural enterprises in 17 countries in Africa, Asia, Middle East and Latin America. In addition to having a direct positive impact on the lives of individuals, the programme’s overall purpose is to design and evidence an effective social investment model that can be scaled and/or replicated. 

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