December 4, 2013
Interviewed by: David Snow

Expert Q&A With Jon Shepard of EY

An expert Q&A with Jon Shepard about EY’s Enterprise Growth Services program.

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Expert Q&A With Jon Shepard of EY

What is EY’s Enterprise Growth Services program?

Shepard: Enterprise Growth Services is a non-profit program within EY. We send people to the emerging markets to work with job-creating small businesses. And we help those businesses overcome barriers to growth and exploit opportunities for growth. We send experienced EY people for a long enough duration to help them do that. So, we might send a team of two to help a small business permanently improve its working capital management and that might take two or three months. In some cases, we will send a larger team to work for up to six months with a business if it needs fundamental rewiring in terms of the way it manages its core operations and its finances.

Do your entrepreneur clients pay for these services?

Shepard: The program works on a not-for-profit, but also not-for-loss basis. So, what we do is we drive our costs right down and then we charge low fees to recover them. So, EY doesn’t make any profit. We don’t recover any overheads or indirect costs. And the people that we send from our European offices take 50% salary cuts for the time that they’re on the program. We then charge fees that recover the remainder of their salary.

What is the smallest business your program would work with?

Shepard: This is not for a guy with a fruit stand. They need to be big enough to absorb some professional consulting help. So, the smallest business we would work with is probably 20 or 30 employees. But we set a cap on the maximum size of business that we will work with too, which is well below the level at which we would expect an organization to work with EY on a normal commercial basis.