Sustained enterprise growth is essential to employment creation. The ILO works towards the creation of sustainable, decent jobs in all types of enterprises with particular focus on small and micro enterprises. Since this is where most women and men earn their living - in micro- and small enterprises, in self-employment and in the informal economy - this is where policies, regulations, business training, market development and organization building matter most.
The International Labour Conference validated this idea in 1998 by adopting ILO Recommendation No. 189 on "Job Creation in Small and Medium-sized Enterprises". This offers a vision of a vibrant, job-creating, poverty-fighting small enterprise sector. The ILO is working with governments, social partners and communities, to craft new policy tools to create a favourable legal and regulatory environment, invigorate entrepreneurship and management training, and involve small business in new markets. The ILO also conducts research on what works where and why, so that employment can be boosted through small enterprise development. Special attention is paid to ensuring that gender concerns in small enterprise development are mainstreamed.
Highlights of work in the Caribbean
Small Business Trainers of the Youth Training and Employment Partnership Programme (YTEPP) benefited from the Training of Trainers Workshop on the ILO's Start Your Business Programme in December 2006. With ILO's support, YTEPP has subsequently adapted the Start Your Business manual for Trinidad and Tobago for use by students of their entrepreneurial training programme.
In collaboration with the Caribbean Development Bank, the ILO offered a training course entitled "Creating an Enabling Environment for Small and Medium Enterprise Development in the Caribbean" on 3-14 October 2005 to twelve countries in the region.
The ILO has implemented a project for national employers' organizations in six countries (Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Suriname) aimed at strengthening their support for the development of small and medium enterprises (SME). The project was implemented from January 2004 to December 2005. Through research conducted, the SME sector and environment were defined and training needs identified. This resulted in employers' organizations offering training and advisory services to SMEs and extending representation. In Saint Kitts and Nevis, for example, the Saint Kitts and Nevis Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the national employer organization, was able to actively participate in the drafting of a national SME policy.
Factors affecting women entrepreneurship in small and cottage industries, was the theme of a study undertaken in three Caribbean countries (Barbados, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago) at the end of 2000. The study was published in 2001 under the title "Jobs, Gender and Small Enterprises in the Caribbean
". Essentially the study identified barriers and constraints facing potential and existing women entrepreneurs, and provided a series of recommendations which could be taken up by government, non-governmental organizations and donors etc. to improve the prospects for women's entrepreneurship development.
- Fact Sheets: Know about Business (KAB) and Start Your Business (SYB) .