The C-BED Approach

C-BED Context


Microenterprise are a critical component of sustainable development: they help increase income, decrease vulnerability, and contribute to a vibrant local economy.

C-BED Problem


Many communities in the developing world are limited by social, financial or geographical factors and may not have access to traditional enterprise development training.

C-BED Fact


Nobody knows more about a community or business than the people who live and work within that community. Yet often this knowledge goes unacknowledged and untapped.

Learn More

Watch a short overview of the community-based methodology and hear from entrepreneurs and training facilitators about their experience.

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C-BED Training

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

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

C-BED was developed by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in an effort to make business development training an option in any community. The community-based methodology offers a new approach for non-formal training in contexts where there is low institutional capacity and in environments characterized by limited resources. New training – CB Tools – are also being developed to complement and expand opportunities for skills development in poor, vulnerable, and marginalized communities.

Commonly Asked Questions

What We Do

The knowledge we get builds on top of what we already know. We then have to apply the new knowledge in business.C-BED Participant

C-BED Overview

With limited technical support from the ILO on a case-by-case basis, organizations in the field are able to easily adapt these tools to their community, without needing to invest in expensive training certification, maintaining networks of trained trainers, and without the use of external consultants.

C-BED training is led by a facilitator from the community or training group themselves who is not expected to and usually does not have subject matter expertise relevant to the training. Within C-BED, communication is more important than information provision so the training materials are designed to support facilitators to promote group-driven learning and guide participants through a series of practical hands-on activities. With support of step-by-step instructions, C-BED facilitators are able to guide small groups through activities which encourage participants to use their own experiences to explore how they make sense of their business. In this way, all participants share responsibility for the learning outcomes and locally focused community networks among entrepreneurs are strengthened.

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