Building the Capacity of MSMEs

by Elevating the Performance of Local Advisory Service Providers 

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Micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) play a vital role in the economic and social development of emerging markets by generating incomes and creating employment opportunities. However, in order to remain meaningful contributors to their countries’ economies, MSMEs must continuously equip their staff with high-quality job skills, which requires a considerable investment in human capital. 

Building the capacity of MSMEs has proved to be a difficult task in many emerging countries, largely because of the fragmented and underdeveloped markets of local advisory service providers. Without improvement in this essential area of advisory services, the divide between the developed and developing world is unlikely to close. 

To tackle this issue, IFC launched a  Local Advisory Services program to help build human capital in emerging markets and fragile and conflict-affected situations (FCS) by:

  • Creating a network of qualified learning and development (L&D) professionals certified to meet the highest industry standards and 
  • Promoting inclusion and coordination among development stakeholders. 

IFC leverages its partnerships with local and international stakeholders to build capacity, maximize impact, and increase the cost-effectiveness of business training programs.

What we Offer

Resources for Learning and Development Professionals

Grow Learn Connect ( is a platform for learning and development (L&D) professionals — trainers, facilitators, consultants, instructors, course designers, HR managers, and coordinators — operating in emerging markets. Through the platform, L&D professionals gain access to capacity-building courses, certifications, publications, and a repository of tools and resources provided by the World Bank Group and other development actors, thus improving the quality of their services and growing their businesses. 


Framework for Capacity-Building Projects: Principles for Learning and the Guide to Training

Despite the significant investments in capacity-building programs, the impact often remains underwhelming or unmeasurable. Many existing training programs are not scalable or cost-effective, and trainers often have limited access to tools and resources to meet the challenge.

To address this need, IFC has partnered with industry leaders to create:

  • A set of Principles for Learning — the foundational qualities that make a performance improvement project effective. The eight principles reflect the four key elements of successful capacity-building programs — they need to be impactful, inclusive, scalable, and sustainable. Learning and development professionals and organizations are encouraged to become signatories to the Principles for Learning and thus commit to designing and delivering training programs to the highest standards. Browse a network of quality-oriented training professionals and organizations who already endorsed the Principles. The Principles are available in five languages: English, Arabic, French, Portuguese, and Spanish. To learn more about the Principles for Learning and how to become a signatory, please refer to the frequently asked questions.
  • Guide to Training: The guide puts the principles into action by providing detailed steps and advice for each phase of a training project lifecycle. The guide includes two supplements: The Gender supplement that supports gender inclusion and the Fragile and Conflict-affected Situations (FCS) supplement that covers considerations for implementing capacity-building projects in the most challenging environments. All publications are available in English, French, and Arabic.
  • IFC has also developed a self-assessment tool for learning and development (L&D) professionals to help them analyze their performance, identify their strengths and competency gaps, align their standards with the IFC Principles for Learning, and improve their performance during each phase of the training lifecycle. The test is available in English and French.


Capacity-Building Programs for Learning and Development Professionals

To strengthen learning and development (L&D) professionals’ ability to meet industry standards, provide quality advisory services to MSMEs and other entities, and grow their training and consulting business, IFC developed courses for different stages of the training project lifecycle and various roles in L&D and launched a series of free monthly webinars.

Courses for L&D Professionals: L&D professionals are encouraged to browse courses grouped by the L&D job function (e.g., trainers, course designers, business learning specialists, master trainers) and by the training project phase, and either sign up to attend a course or request to get notified when the course under development becomes available.

All these courses are available in English and French. At the end of each course, participants may choose to go through an assessment for the IFC-LPI TPMA Trainer certification.

Any attendance or certification fees are the responsibility of the participants. These fees are set by IFC-certified master trainers and other stakeholders offering training and certification services. IFC has no financial interest in offering or promoting such services.

GLC Monthly Webinars: To share best practices, improve skills, and elevate standards of training delivery within the GLC training community, IFC launched a series of FREE monthly webinars — in English and French — conducted by IFC master trainers, partners, and other members of the GLC training community. Topics revolve around the training project lifecycle, such as design and facilitation of training sessions and post-training support, but also include best practices for growing a training business, such as strategies for profitability, budgeting and cash flow management, and marketing.


Internationally Recognized, Quality-Assured Certification

To augment skills, assure quality, and expand the pool of trusted, highly qualified L&D providers, IFC offers internationally recognized  certifications:

Access to Quality-Assured Local L&D Providers

The Grow Learn Connect platform includes an online directory of training and consulting companies as well as individual L&D professionals, many of whom are certified by IFC and the LPI, to address the needs of companies and organizations seeking training, consulting, and coaching services.


Advisory and Training Services

We provide advisory and training services to clients and development partners to improve the impact of their projects aiming to improve the performance of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

We also help client financial institutions support their MSME customers by offering courses in financial risk mitigation, access to finance, and business management.

Principles for Learning

The Principles for Learning represent the foundational qualities that make a performance improvement project effective. Download your copy in:

Guide to Training

The Guide to Training provides a competency framework for the design, delivery, and evaluation of learning programs in emerging markets. Download your copy in:




    in 20 countries 



    in 20 countries



    in 44 countries

    *Data as of February 2024

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