This summer we had the pleasure of hosting an EDP global workshop in Oxford. It was the first time for the new EDP team to meet face to face, exchange experiences and reflect on our work since we launched the second phase of the programme. For many it was also the first time to visit Oxfam House and a unique opportunity to debate strategies and approaches to overcome poverty with thematic experts across the organization.
Despite the diversity in social and cultural contexts, the team is united by a shared vision that inclusive and fair enterprises can sustainably enable poor women and men to thrive.
Over the last six months we have seen some remarkable achievements and our programme priorities are starting to shift as we address some of our key challenges. The lack of access to appropriate finance, for example, remains one of the key barriers for small enterprises to grow and succeed. The EDP teams in Nepal and Bangladesh have made substantial progress in the last semester entering new partnerships with banks and financial institutions that have the potential not only to unlock finance for EDP portfolio enterprises but also to drive innovation and change their local financial markets.
As highlighted in previous reports a strong focus for country teams has been identifying and selecting enterprises that fit the EDP profile. Thanks to a diverse set of strategies and a great team effort we have already achieved our goal of ten new investments by 2017 and we have a solid pipeline of enterprises ready to be presented to the EDP Investment Committee.
As the portfolio grows, our focus is shifting towards providing support to entrepreneurs and managers, making sure that they have adequate skills and resources to achieve their ambitious targets, both in terms of business performance and social impact.
Other common challenges, most notably coping with the effects of climate change, continue to threaten the sustainability of our portfolio and require bold thinking, better risk assessments and smarter investments in adaptation, prevention and mitigation strategies.
But at the heart of our work is the belief that we can make a real and tangible difference to the lives of people living in poverty. And we are encouraged to know that we have now reached almost 38,000 farmers through our current portfolio, 38% of whom are women.
I hope our audiovisual report captures some of these reflections and shows what we can achieve together with our partners and supporters.
Thank you for your continued interest and involvement.
ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME MANAGER