Fostering an Enabling Environment for Livelihoods Development in Vulnerable and At Risk Communities through Entrepreneurship and Microenterprise Skills

This project has set out to provide technical support to institutions and organizations implementing the C-BED programme by developing the capacity of partners to provide, sustain, and scale up interventions that improve livelihoods opportunities and decent work in vulnerable and at risk communities through entrepreneurship and micro-enterprise development.

Project Objectives

The overall project objectives are –
  • Institutions/organizations are better able to identify needs and take action to plan, program and deliver sustainable skills training services for entrepreneurs and micro-enterprises;
  • Training and support services for entrepreneurs and self-employed workers/micro-enterprises in vulnerable and at-risk communities are more accessible through closer coordination and collaboration among institutions and organizations;
  • Evidence-based policy and programming decisions are used to promote transition to the formal economy, social protection, enterprise sustainability, and decent work standards in the MSE sector;

Executive Summary

For many men and women of working age, entrepreneurship and employment in micro-enterprises can provide pathways to decent work and are often the most, or only, accessible source of employment. However, the informality of most micro-enterprises, limited social safety nets available for the self-employed, and low productivity and high failure rate among these firms has constrained the role the sector can play in social and economic development.

In responding to this situation, the ILO has (since 2014) supported more than 60 organizations across 16 countries to take up the Community-Based Enterprise Development (C-BED) programme, a low-cost, scalable, and participatory approach to skills development for entrepreneurship and business improvement. While the peer-based, social learning methodology and decentralized implementation model introduced by ILO has enabled the programme to be scaled up rapidly across the region and by a wide-variety of partners, work is now required to foster formal networks of technical cooperation and collaboration between institutions/organizations and to pursue entry points for integrating the decent work agenda into policy and programming actions being moved forward.

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

Government institutions, workers and employers organizations, and civil society providers of livelihoods support, skills training for entrepreneurship and enterprise development, and social safety net services.  

Target Groups

Men and women of working age from vulnerable and at-risk communities in Thailand, Cambodia, and Lao PDR.

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.