Training of Trainers Workshop on Promotion of Rural Female Entrepreneurs held in Changsha, China
Rural small business is a potential income generation activity for female farmers in the remote and ethnic communities. For the development of entrepreneurship capacity, particularly in identifying, planning and managing the small business, rural women need comprehensive supports from field micro-credit facilitators.
For building business promotion capacity of field credit facilitators a Training of Trainers Workshop (TOT) on Promotion of Rural Female Entrepreneurs was held in Changsha City of China. The TOT workshop is jointly financed by China-Development Finance (CD Finance) and Ford Foundation. 30 CD Finance field service agents (22 females and 8 males) from 10 counties of Hunan, Sichuan, Jiangxi and Hubei provinces, participated in the three-day workshop. For preparation and implementation of the TOT workshop, CD Finance recruited Prof. Liu Yonggong, VCB-N CoE in China, as value chain development methodology consultant. Prof. Liu provided technical supports to the trainer’s team in curriculum and material development and attended the TOT Training Workshop for coaching two trainers.
The training workshop was elaborated in three major sessions: (1) Preparation and planning of the small business with three major steps of selecting and identifying the business areas and major products, services and goods; carrying out market analysis; preparation of business development plan, appraise the financial feasibility, etc.; (2) Establishment of small business (shops, workshops, restaurants, etc.) with major steps of selection of sites and location; borrowing micro-credit from CD Finance and Rural Credit Cooperatives (RCC); renting and decorating shops and rooms; enterprise registration; and open-up and inauguration of the business; (3) Operation and management of small business with focus on developing and maintaining the customers; ensuring the service quality; human resource management; book-keeping to monitor the profit and costs; risk identification and risk mitigation during operation; enlarging the marketing channels, etc.
During the TOT training, as coach of the trainers’ team, Prof. Liu Yonggong introduced and demonstrated the concept and major steps of value chain based business development, the business development life cycle and relevant participatory and visualization methodologies and tools that can be applied by the business consultants and micro-credit field service agents. Major methods and tools presented and recommended to the participants include: (1) Customers’questionnaires to be applied in the market survey; (2) Semi-structured interview and group interview used in the market survey; (3) Brainstorming and Problems Trees to be applied in consultation with the female entrepreneurs; (4) Participatory Scoring and Ranking, SWOT analysis applied with entrepreneurs in selection of the products and services; (5) Community Transect Walk for selecting the sites and location of the shops.
Besides the abovementioned technical and methodological inputs, Prof. Liu also facilitated the group discussions, provided feedbacks, comments and suggestions to the results of group works. At the end of the TOT workshop, Prof. Liu also facilitated the training performance evaluation exercise by use of on-line survey questionnaire. Based on the observation and the results of training evaluation, Prof. Liu provided systematic recommendations to trainer’s team.