Chris Darroll

Chris Darroll

Chris Darroll

Founder and Chief Executive of Small Business Project

Chris Darroll is the founder and chief executive of Small Business Project (SBP). SBP is an independent, not-for-profit, private sector development and research company. It is based in Johannesburg and has worked extensively across South Africa and in a variety of other African countries and emerging economies since 1998.

SBP specialises in undertaking targeted and robust evidence-based research to inform government policy-making, support SME development and job creation as well as assist in improving the efficiency of regulatory frameworks and administrative procedures for private sector growth.

Chris has more than 26 years’ experience in private sector development, with a special focus on SMEs and job creation. She has served as an advisor to several key South African and African government ministers on addressing constraints to private sector growth and SME development in particular.


  • She is the principal author of South Africa’s SME white paper and institutional plan to support SME development.
  • Chris developed the white paper on SME and private sector development for the Government of Lesotho and was the principal author of the new Small Business Policy Strategy for the Government of Malawi.


  • She is one of the leading experts on the assessment of regulatory costs and administrative barriers to business growth, and SMEs in particular.
  • Chris has led a number of strategic SBP projects, on behalf of government and business, to identify key bottlenecks and policy recommendations to address these.
  • Chris has provided consulting services and advice to state aid institutions including the World Bank Group, GtZ/GIZ, the UK government’s Department for International Development, USAID, Denmark’s DANIDA, the US Centre for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) and the African Development Bank to promote private sector growth and SME development in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and Europe.