MICRO ENTERPRISE TRAINING
by Phil Bartle, PhD
How do you organize the skill training for micro enterprise?
Organizing Training in Business Skills:
You have a community organization set up for distributing credit to low income individuals who will each choose, plan, and manage a micro level business. See the "Building a Credit Organization" module. How do you go about training them in the skills that they will need to be successful?
You are caught between two opposing and contradictory situations. On one side you have the tendency of individuals with an attitude that they simply want the loan, and say that they know all they need about running a business. They will say that no training is needed. On the other side you have many small educational and training institutions who teach business skills; they are expensive and do not always focus on the precise skills needed by your clients.
What to do? Neither.
You set up your own training programme, a curriculum (ie plan) based upon the needs of your clients, on what you expect will be useful to them, and with trainers that you personally recruit, select and train as your business skill trainers.
First, familiarize yourself with the skills needed to successfully run a small enterprise. They are listed above and some of the documents in this module describe them in more detail. Then you challenge your clients, at a meeting of the credit organization that you have set up. "Can you do this?" "Can you do that?" "How do you do such and such?" "Do you know what may or will happen if you do or not do this thing or that?" Ply them with questions, so that they will begin to form a picture of the range of training that they need. Do not passively accept their answers, but challenge them to demonstrate whatever skills they claim to have.
Use a modified brainstorm session to identify (in the group) all the topics that they will need. With them, set priorities in terms of which topics should be covered first, then later. You need at least enough knowledge of the topics to be able to guide them in designing their own curriculum.
Do not attempt to conduct the training yourself, unless you are particularly skilled in one or more of the topics, and have had practical experience. Identify, recruit and select persons who are skilled at each of the topics. Then train each specialist in participatory methods of presenting their material. Do not necessarily choose a professional instructor, unless she or he shows potential and willingness in using the participatory methods that you practice in community mobilizing.
When briefing and guiding the specialists, explain how you expect them to use participatory methods. Explain how you will also participate in the training as a team-teacher with the specialist. Explain that detailed and advanced skills are not needed by the participants. Only the elemental skills are needed for beginning entrepreneurs, many of whom may be illiterate, and most of whom do not have the time or resources for advanced courses in business management.
Give yourself enough time to complete the whole process:
As with all your mobilizing activities, you need to plan and pace our work, and you need to keep records, concentrating not on your activities as such, but on the results of your activities.
Planning the Training for Micro Enterprise:
© Copyright 1967, 1987, 2007 Phil Bartle