Fourteen million people in China have benefited from the International Labour Organization’s flagship entrepreneurship and management training programme Start and Improve Your Business course since 2003. Companies established as a result of the programme include those in the technology, engineering and agriculture sectors.
The course was organized by the Chinese Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MoHRSS) at the Enterprise Centre, which is linked to the University of Hebi. The SIYB training not only developed their business skills and confidence, but also provided them with a space to reconnect and interact with other entrepreneurs.
China is the biggest market for SIYB globally and is used by the government to promote self-employment, particularly among recent university graduates, laid-off workers from state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and rural-urban migrants. With unprecedented economic growth and urbanization, the number of college graduates and migrant workers has risen at least ten-fold in 15 years. Between 2011 and 2015, about ten million budding entrepreneurs took the SIYB course in China, the Ministry estimates.
“The SIYB programme has become a part of the SME development and employment policy in China. The government offers SIYB training through its public employment centers, which have a large outreach throughout the country. These centers, numbering 24,000 in 32 provinces, operate at the provincial, city, county, township and village/community levels,” said Pranati Mehtha, ILO Technical Officer for the SIYB programme in the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Unit. “Vocational Training Centers under MoHRSS, colleges and some subcontractors working with MoHRSS also provide SIYB training. Training providers receive varying subsidies per participant from the Ministry to conduct SIYB training. For example, in Beijing the rate is RMB 1,000 (USD 147, 17) per participant,” she added.
The Nanjing Municipal Vocational Training Centre provides a broad range of skills training through its 33 public training agencies across the province. These include railway management, power engineering, software design, accounting, welding, and laboratory studies. Since 2011, the region has seen a soaring number of new, young and successful entrepreneurs. The Centre’s SIYB Trainers have delivered a total of 800 Generate Your Business (GYB) trainings, 2,205 Start Your Business (SYB) and 73 Improve Your Business (IYB) training workshops. This amounted to a reported 160,000 participants, who were able to start and sustain 64,000 new businesses, providing more than 200,000 jobs.
SIYB trainees also receive financial support to start their enterprises. Loans of up to RMB 100,000 (USD 14,717) are available, which are interest free for the first two years. Participants are offered additional services including preferential start-up taxation, incubators, social insurance policies and accounting services to help them build their businesses.
Starting in 2007, the ILO handed over the implementation of SIYB to the government, which continues to expand the programme’s outreach. Over the years, MoHRSS has introduced new versions and sectoral adaptations of the original SIYB materials, such as agriculture. Since its inception in the 1980s, SIYB has become an integral part of national initiatives to stimulate economic development. With 380 Master Trainers, almost 64,740 Trainers and over 15 million beneficiaries trained, SIYB is one of the largest programmes of its kind worldwide, implemented by close to 3,340 organizations in 100 countries.