National Agricultural Research Institutes (NARIs) are hindered from delivering on their mandate for early generation seed (pre-basic) production by unreliable funding streams. Although many NARIs are shifting towards a business orientation to compensate for reductions in government spending, there are limited examples of how they can organise viable cost recovery enterprises. National Agricultural Research Institutes in 11 sub-Saharan African countries expanded their pre-basic sweetpotato seed production. Ten institutions started to implement their business plans; of which six earned revenues from the seed sales to start revolving funds. This brief describes the progress and contains some take home messages from the work done in 2015-2016.