Enterprise development

Community-Based Enterprise Development (C-BED)

C-BED is a low cost, easy to implement training approach designed by the International Labour Organization (ILO) to help institutions support entrepreneurs and micro-business owners start new businesses or improve existing businesses.


The Community-Based Enterprise Development (C-BED) Programme is a low-cost, easy to implement training approach for helping entrepreneurs and micro-business owners to plan and improve their businesses. Carried out without external trainers or resources, C-BED is particularly well suited for use among poor, vulnerable and marginalized communities where funding and capacities are limited or in communities that are hard to reach due to social or geographical isolation.

The programme is well suited to partner institutions with a focus on creating more and better employment for women and men. In this respect, C-BED supports the sustainable development goals by promoting:
  • Business development policies that support decent job creation, entrepreneurship and encourage the growth of micro, small and medium enterprises
  • Productive employment and decent work for all, including the youth and persons with disabilities


Micro and small enterprises play an important role in economic development in the Asia Pacific region, accounting for up to 96% of total enterprises and providing up to 95% of domestic employment. Access to entrepreneurship and self-employment through the MSME sector can offer effective coping strategies for poor and vulnerable communities to strengthen their livelihoods and create new opportunities for decent work.

Therefore, there is a need for training programmes that can overcome the challenges faced in low resource/low capacity settings where populations are underserved by business development services. Such an approach should promote immediate and localized responses to social and economic vulnerability by drawing on existing knowledge and experience.


C-BED is unique because of the ‘learning without a trainer’ methodology that is applied through a peer to peer, activity-based group learning 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.

Target Group

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.


At the end of the training participants should be able to apply abstract business concepts (i.e. pricing or record-keeping) to their own business in ways that make a difference. By studying the course materials and sharing lessons and experiences with their peers, participants should also be able to develop an “action plan” of concrete steps to start or improve their businesses.

For further information please contact:

Mr Charles Bodwell
Enterprises Development Specialist
ILO DWT for East and South-East Asia and the Pacific
United Nations Building, Rajdamnern Nok Avenue
Bangkok 10200, Thailand
Tel.: +66 288 2441
Fax: +66 2280 1735