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Markets hold significant power to create or combat poverty. Increasingly, international development initiatives focused on economic growth or poverty alleviation are working to open existing markets to poor producers and consumers and make the benefits of well-functioning markets more widely accessible to the poor. The challenge for the development practitioner is to promote economic growth strategies that improve the competitiveness of industries. Developing value chains that are within competitive industries had specific challenges when the majority of micro- and small enterprises are extremely poor. This paper draws from the experience of SEEP
members working on value chain development with the poor and presents lessons learned from an on-line discussion that took place in 2006.