Enterprise development

This training guide provides the material for a seven day training course in enterprise development, which is intended for the staff of NGOs and other organisations, including government departments, whose mandate is to promote “income-generation” or “micro-enterprises” among poor people.

Anyone who wishes to use this material must first read it through carefully and decide what parts s/he wishes to use and what changes or adaptations are needed. Whenever possible, examples should be replaced by more locally relevant material. If a course based on this material will be conducted in another language, all handouts should be translated before the course starts. The session guides refer to overhead projectors and flip charts and one suggests a video recorder, but none of this equipment is essential. A simple blackboard is sufficient. In fact this training should not take place in a luxurious and expensive environment, as this is too far removed from the lives of those micro-entrepreneurs the participants are required to help.

The lesson material presented here is based on the book “Empowerment through Enterprise” published by ITDG Publishing and written by Malcolm Harper. We are grateful to ITDG and the copyright holders, NORAD, for allowing us to adapt and reproduce this material in the Rural Finance Learning Centre. The PowerPoint presentation is based on an extract from “Doing a Feasibility Study” edited by Suzanne Kindervatter and published by Women, Ink. Further reproduction and dissemination of all this material for education or other non-commercial purposes is authorised without any prior written permission from the copyright holders, provided the source is fully acknowledged.


Day 1 – Session 01: Introduction – our strengths, weaknesses and responsibilities

Objective:To enable participants to identify their own and each other's strengths and weaknesses for effective enterprise development, and to maximise their commitment to the course.

Day 1 – Session 02: Our own views, and where do we stand now? The enterprise experience


  1. To enable participants to identify certain beliefs, which are critical for effective enterprise development, and to recognise and, when appropriate, to question their own beliefs.
  2. To introduce participants to the 'enterprise experience'. This is an innovative approach to learning which requires the participants to run an enterprise of their choosing during the training course.
Day 1 – Session 03: How to generate business ideas

Objective:To enable participants to identify business ideas for their 'enterprise experience' businesses, and also to learn how to help their own clients, when this is necessary, to generate business ideas for themselves.

Day 1 – Session 04: Planning for Business

Objective:To enable participants to identify the critical information that is needed to plan a new business, and to organise this information into a form which will facilitate rapid appraisal by the business owner herself or by others.

Day 2 – Session 05: Business Plan Presentations

Objective:To enable participants to present their enterprise experience plans and thus to improve their presentation skills and their ability to assist their clients to plan their own businesses.

Day 2 – Session 06: The Financial Reality of an Enterprise


  1. To enable participants to describe the sources and forms in which money is being used in a business, and the operating results, in the form of a simple 'balance sheet' and 'profit and loss statement',
  2. To use and explain these statements without employing technical accounting terms.
Day 2 – Session 07: The Dynamic Balance Sheet

Objective: To enable participants to apply, expand and test what they have learned so far about simple accounts, in order to be able to collect figures from real businesses and understand how to use them.

Day 2 – Session 08: The Practical Use of Business Figures

Objective: To enable participants to make use of simple accounting figures, in order to identify problems and recommend solutions to real businesses.

Day 3 – Session 09: How to Obtain Business Information in the Field

Objective: To enable participants to collect information from the owners of micro-enterprises in an effective manner and be able to use the information as a basis for useful analysis and recommendations.

Day 3 – Session 10: Group Meetings with Business Owners

Objective: To enable participants to meet and learn from the owners of micro-enterprises; to collect relevant information from them; to analyse the information in an appropriate manner and make useful recommendations to the business owners for improving their operations.

Day 3 – Session 11: Presentation Skills

Objective: To show participants how to present the results of their business appraisals clearly and concisely, using visual aids correctly and ensuring that they get their key points across in a short time.

Day 4 – Session 12: Business Appraisal Presentations

Objective: To enable participants to present and share the information they have obtained from micro-enterprise owners and the conclusions they have reached, in order to help them develop a view of the needs and problems of small, informal businesses which is based on reality.

Day 4 – Session 13: What do Goods and Services Cost?

Objective: To enable participants to estimate the cost of the goods and services produced by micro-enterprises, to assess the impact of sales volume on costs and to estimate the 'break-even' point of a micro-enterprise.

Day 4 – Session 14: What do Goods and Services Cost? Part 2

Objective: To enable participants to apply the lessons of the previous session to more complex micro-enterprises, including the real-life enterprises which they visited earlier in the course.

Day 5 – Session 15: Introduction to Marketing

Objective: To enable participants to identify ways in which the products and services of poor people's enterprises are marketed, in order to be able to assist and advise their clients to market their goods and services more effectively.

Day 5 – Session 16: Marketing Applications

Objective: to enable participants to apply their knowledge of marketing to real situations. This is achieved through the study of four micro case studies and the real life situations participants experienced during their field exercise.

Day 5 – Session 17: Quality and Efficiency

Objective: To enable participants to recognise poor quality and inefficiency in their own or in others' work; to recognise the reasons for it and its dangers; and to identify ways in which they can improve the quality and efficiency of their work.

Day 5 – Session 18: Record Keeping

Objective: To enable participants to identify and recommend appropriate forms of record keeping for literate and illiterate owners of micro-enterprises.

Day 6 – Session 19: Group or Individual Enterprise?

Objective: To enable participants to identify the advantages and disadvantages of group enterprises and to determine when group or individual enterprise is more appropriate.

Day 6 – Session 20: Group Enterprises – When and How?

Objective: To enable participants to identify situations when group enterprise may be appropriate and consider how to assist them effectively.

Day 6 – Session 21: NGOs – what are they and what is their role in enterprise development?

Objective: To enable participants to describe the strengths and weaknesses of NGOs and their staff, and thus to identify the implications for their work in enterprise development.

Day 6 – Session 22: Women and Micro-Enterprise

Objective: To enable participants to identify the particular problems which face women in micro enterprises and suggest actions to overcome them.

Day 7 – Session 23: The Enterprise Experience – Conclusion

Objective: To enable participants to present and share the results of their enterprise experiences.

Day 7 – Session 24: Course evaluation and follow up

Objective: To enable participants to draw together what they have learned, to apply evaluation techniques and to commit themselves to a specific action, which they will undertake on their return home, and thus to maximise the chances that participants apply some part of what they have learned in the course when they return to work. The evaluation will assist the instructor to improve the course in future.

Marketing Mix Board Game

This game originally appeared as part of the publication “Marketing Strategy Training Activities for Entrepreneurs” by Suzanne Kindervatter with Maggie Range. Designed for women with existing businesses, the game helps participants to explore as many marketing ideas and problems as possible and to increase marketing knowledge by using the 4 Ps of marketing:

Product or service – What do you sell?

Price – Setting your price to make a profit.

Place/distribution – Finding the best way to distribute your product.

Promotion – Creating ways to persuade customers to buy your product.

The game is especially effective with groups of varying literacy skills. After playing, participants should be able to identify concrete ways to increase sales and improve practices.

This game has been included as one of the activities in a marketing module made freely available as part of the Get Ahead training package compiled by ILO. The materials provided here are drawn primarily from the original book. There are notes for the trainer, an example game board (from the ILO version), question cards, and some templates to enable a trainer to prepare his or her own question cards. The game can also be purchased in the original book format from Women, Ink at a price of USD 15.50.

Using a poster story to introduce business planning

This PowerPoint presentation is designed to introduce the concept of using a “poster story” to stimulate discussion and help those with limited literacy skills to understand ideas being presented. By using drawings or “posters” to create a story, people are able to identify with the characters and, as experience has shown, often follow the evolving theme with great interest and excitement. The presentation is provided here in two parts to limit the download size. The first part can be used on its own.

The slides are based on a chapter of “Doing a Feasibility Study: Training activities for starting or reviewing a small business” by Suzanne Kindervatter (ed). We are grateful to OEF International and UNIFEM for permission to use the material in this way. The presentation could be used as part of a training course for NGO or other staff involved in enterprise development activities if PowerPoint facilities are available. The text can be translated into other languages and notes are provided with any slide that requires further explanation. It is necessary to save the presentation on your computer to see these notes. The main point of it all, however, is to show how to use drawings to create a story that introduces the topic of business planning.

As the original book advises, the story should be adapted to local circumstances before use. Most of the pictures used in this example were developed for use with women in rural Senegal. Notes on how to adapt the story are provided on a slide at the end of Part 2. Another useful idea is to use real or play money when people are making the calculations or use the opportunity to teach the use of a simple calculator. To produce good pictures of people may require the involvement of a local artist but other posters can be drawn by anyone.

For further ideas, the book is highly recommended – you can find out more about it by clicking the link below.