The Entrepreneurial Development Program

How it works in areas where extractive companies operate

What is Entrepreneurial Development?

The Entrepreneurial Development Program, or ED, is a community based economic development tool. The power of ED comes from a community’s willingness to support the dreams and aspirations of its citizens. We have been involved in successfully implementing rural and urban communities with vastly different challenges and circumstances.

History of ED

ED was developed from best practises of economic development programs. Our SEF team has over 30 years of personal business experience and we have been intimately involved in the development, launch and implementation of economic development initiatives world-wide since 1997. ED is based on two important principals, one entrepreneurs are the root of development and the entrepreneurs need the tools much like big business, Universal Principles of Management. We know these two factors can boast an outstanding success record with 80% of all businesses started, over 5 years.

Sustainable Economic Futures

SEF Canada Ltd. (SEF) delivers the Entrepreneurial Development program to communities seeking to grow. We start by presenting to communities and holding training programs to enable the human capital in each community to be recognized. Our team supports, consults and trains the community on the methodology and how to implement. The team is diverse in all disciplines and includes an international Advisory Board

Why ED is different

To liberate the ideas of people requires an extraordinary program capable of engaging entrepreneurs in a confidential and friendly way. ED recognizes that individuals have business ideas but may lack the knowledge to make their ideas ‘take off’. However, knowledge can be found and ED Facilitators become a valuable asset in the pursuit.

ED complements the work of economic development practitioners who have training, space, financial resources, etc. Facilitators organize and align clients for the resources that they need, when they need them. 

By providing local people with the resources and knowledge they need in order to be successful in business, a parallel economy is born.

The virtuous Circle- Economic Strategies

A virtuous circle can be thought of as a situation where success in one component of a system drives a desired result in another component. This type of interaction generates what is known as a ‘positive feedback loop’, and this model can be used to accurately describe effective economic development strategies.

The circle starts with strategic planning and is being addressed right now in your community. This includes the creation of infrastructure- roads, internet, credit, industrial lands, and education and training programs.

The second element serves to further drive infrastructures and use of these; The Entrepreneurial Development Program. When this occurs the virtuous circle of economic development is complete and can begin to maximize benefits and put the community in (towards) a sustainability path.

Universal Management Principles

To help people to succeed in business it is essential to share with them Universal Management Principles which include an understanding of 1 Core business management and 2 External advisors.

Core business management takes into account human nature and a realization that we will succeed doing what we love. What must be reconciled is that to run a business requires skills that reside on opposite sides of the brain and humans migrate to one side or the other. This reveals the startling fact that no one can run a business alone!

Successful businesses result when outstanding individuals bring their unique skills together to deliver a beautiful product, superb marketing, rigorous financial management and strong leadership, the four pillars of success.

ED’s Community Resource Team gives entrepreneurs access to an incredible network of external advisors. External advisors bring experience and advice. More importantly, they bring an outside perspective. 

With a solid management team in place and external support and advice, the entrepreneur is better poised for success.

Creating Opportunities through Extractive Companies

Historically, extractive industry companies have made tremendous contributions to the communities they operate in by funding new infrastructure. Often these efforts, although greatly appreciated, have not lasted beyond the life of the project. This is because the projects were imposed on the community and not aligned with the needs or the capacities of the locals to sustain them. All this culminates in a progressive decline once support from the extractive company is withdrawn.

In our view, building the capacity of the community to help itself is the precondition for sustainable development.

A community that learns how to help its own people to transform their ideas into viable enterprises is also a community that can benefit from better infrastructure because, in the long term, it will have the resources to utilize and maintain them.

Often extractive operations bring to a community opportunity for ‘spin off’ businesses to deliver a range of services to the extractive company. Some of those are prevented from participating in projects by corporate practises which effectively disadvantage small suppliers. SMEs lack the resources and support to make the most of these opportunities. To optimize local SME participation, removal of barriers needs to take place both through communication channels and building the capacity of the company to supply.

While such business can prove to be extremely profitable throughout the duration on the corporation’s life, once it closes, these businesses typically decline shortly after because the corporation was the primary customer. Facilitators can help those businesses expand their customer base beyond just the corporation, so that even after closure, the local economy can continue to thrive. Facilitators can help turn ‘spin off’ businesses into self-sufficient, sustainable enterprises that can help sustain the local economy well into the future.

The Entrepreneurial Development Program makes it possible for local existing infrastructure and programs to be fully utilized and creates an environment appreciative of the value of local initiative and intelligence.

The Practice of Entrepreneurial Development

We have successfully fostered local economic development by assisting people to transform their ideas into viable businesses. We have learned that there are some universal principles that apply to business and that these principles can be taught to any individual willing to better his chances to succeed.

Central to the approach is the “Facilitator”; a business savvy management coach who provides free,confidential, one-on-one, and on site advice, to any entrepreneur wishing to start or expand a business.

  • People with passion, intelligence, and the will to improve their lot can be found everywhere, no matter the geography or the socio-economic profile of their community
  • To “capture” the ideas and energy of people requires an extraordinary social infrastructure capable of delivering a competent service in a confidential and companionable way. The key is to provide a new kind of infrastructure of such competency, visibility and accessibility that the would-be entrepreneurs would find difficult to resist
  • To help people to succeed in business it is essential to share with them Universal Management Principles in a compassionate but candid, honest way

The Creation of Entrepreneurial Development

  • SEF will become your technical advisors to recruit, train and mentor:
  • A Project Management Team consisting of representatives from the community
  • A Facilitator
  • A Resource Team of Volunteers (local ‘friends’ of the project) to network the Facilitator into the communities and brainstorm local resources

The Project Management Team’s task will be to create the Development service and to integrate its activities with the community. SEF will provide ongoing support and training to the Management in all matters pertaining to the successful implementation of an Entrepreneurial Development program.

The Facilitator’s task will be to operate at the grassroots interacting with local would-be and existing entrepreneurs willing to establish or expand. SEF will assist the Management Team in the recruitment, training and mentoring of the Facilitator.

The Resource Team (community ‘friends’ of the Entrepreneurial Development project) is composed of citizens that will help to introduce the Facilitator into their communities. Task of the Resource volunteer will be to introduce and network the Facilitator within the communities and share local knowledge in support of the work of the Facilitator. SEF assists the Management Team in defining the role of the Resource Team and provides training to the Facilitator and the people already engaged in the communities to develop, train and nurture the Resource Team.


Some 300 communities in 5 continents have been introduced to this methodology. Based on experience, the Facilitator should assist approximately 200 entrepreneurs per community per year creating an average of 10 to 15 new businesses resulting in 40 to 60 new jobs. The skills acquired by the Facilitator and volunteers last in perpetuity. The survival rate among newly created businesses supported by the program should sustainability rates above 80% after 5 years.


SEF often works with you to identify funding partners and other strategies to engage a project Management team and appropriate cross section of stakeholders that would benefit from a more diversified and thriving local economy.

Our direct engagement spans three years as the ability to become effective in a Management, Facilitator or ResourceTeam role occur over time. We have an ongoing program to ensure continuing success.


Follow ED

Instagram: @edprogram