Community-Based Enterprise Development to Strengthen Grassroots Activities Targeting Vulnerable Workers and Business Owners

The project aimed to assist improve the capacity of ILO constituents to provide low cost, high impact training on business development to vulnerable workers in the informal economy. The project also aimed to support the tripartite intervention “Supporting Grass-Roots Activities (SGRA)” to strengthen social-dialogue and social protection for workers in the informal economy.

Project Objectives

The overall project objectives were –
  • The International Employer’s and Worker’s Network was equipped with tools and capacity to provide low cost, high impact skills training on enterprise development for informal economy interventions.
  • Vulnerable workers and MSE in the informal economy had improved access to decent work as a result of Community-Based Enterprise Development (C-BED) programs;
  • These objectives were pursued by:
  • Direct action to pilot Community-Based Enterprise Development (C-BED) among informal economy workers in Thailand and Lao PDR through tripartite partnerships;
  • Capacity development of implementing partners and project partners to promote skills training on entrepreneurship and enterprise development as a strategic service for building resilience and self-reliance among informal economy workers;
  • Monitoring and evaluation though shared measurement and collective impact assessment to inform program development;

About C-BED

C-BED is unique because of the ‘learning without a trainer’ methodology that is applied through a peer to peer, activity-based group model. Participants work together in small groups to solve problems and through sharing existing knowledge and experiences, entrepreneurs are able to help each other understand formal business concepts, like costing or marketing, and develop stronger skills for business improvement. While the programme was originally designed to target aspiring entrepreneurs and micro and small business owners, the training tools are designed to accommodate any individual with an interest in the relevant training topic. Further, as the program has evolved new training tools have been developed in the areas of rights, organizing, and empowerment and are intended for a broader target group.


Project Partners

Workers and employers organizations, international non-government organizations, and local community-based associations.

Target Groups

Aspiring entrepreneurs and micro and small business owners in the informal economy being reached by the SGRA intervention.


Main Activities

The project provided capacity building of trade unions and workers organizations to reach out to and train vulnerable self-employed workers in the informal economy on entrepreneurship, organizing, and empowerment. C-BED training materials were tailored/augmented to support partners in this work and a new module was developed on Livelihoods Resilience and Social Protection. ILO technical expertise on enterprise development was provided to SGRA partners through the tripartite mechanism established for social dialogue and local partners were inducted into the C-BED community of practice network.

Project Outcomes

The project resulted in:
  • 3,000 self-employed workers in the informal economy accessing training on business development and social protection through the SGRA;
  • National and local level representatives from Ministry of Labour, employers associations, and workers organizations received capacity building on the C-BED training methodology and orientation to the programme curriculum and tools;
  • Trade Unions and Workers Organizations joined the C-BED community of practice network for information and knowledge exchange among institutions/organizations working on entrepreneurship, income generation, and livelihoods;

About the ILO/Japan SSN Fund

This project was made possible through the support of the ILO/Japan Fund for Building Social Safety Nets in Asia and the Pacific (SSN Fund). The SSN Fund aims to broaden the use of social safety nets through a wide range of projects to extend existing social security systems, promote occupational safety and health (OSH), develop human resources, strengthen labour inspection, eliminate forced labour and foster entrepreneurship. The Fund also responds to natural disasters by implementing crisis response activities in the affected areas to support disaster recovery.