Courtesy: British Embassy Beijing
1000 businesses destroyed by the devastating May 12 earthquake in Sichuan will be re-established in the next 12 months thanks to financial support by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the United Nations International Labour Organisation (ILO). A further 700 new businesses will be started for those who lost their jobs in the earthquake.
Entitled ‘Emergency Start and Improve Your Business (E-SIYB) Project: Getting people back to work through re-starting and starting businesses’, the project will support three groups of people:
1. Unemployed workers who lost wage employment and have a strong willingness to start businesses
2. Farmers who lost land and other assets and have a strong willingness to start off-farm income generating activities or family business
3. Small business owners who lost their businesses but are willing to start again.
Support will be offered in the form of ‘Emergency Start and Improve Your Business’ (E-SIYB) training which will help participants formulate a business plan that takes into account opportunities and challenges resulting from reconstruction efforts. They will also be offered access to short skills training courses if and when a specific technical skill to run the business successfully is required.
In the long term the training will allow participants to present a case for Government-sponsored support, including financial services and business development services.
The project is funded by DFID ($700,000) and the ILO ($100,000). The Chinese government will contribute through a series of special measures and programmes aiming at medium and small enterprises, which will be accessible to the project beneficiaries if their business plans meet the criteria set out under the training programmes.
The project will start in July 2008 for a period of 12 months, focusing on rural townships in the cities of Mianyang, Deyang and Guangyuan.
Following the May 12 earthquake, an impressive relief operation is ongoing but already it is clear that the recovery of lost livelihoods is urgent. A large number of people that were either employed in small businesses or that were self-employed are no longer earning an income. This includes agricultural activities, where loss of livestock and crops is significant. The region affected by the quake is traditionally an source of outward migrant workers. Labour migration will increase if local income earning opportunities cannot be quickly identified.
From 2004 to 2007, the ILO has been working with provincial and local labour offices on entrepreneurship development through ‘Start and Improve Your Business’ training packages, composed of a suite of training products for business start-ups and business expansion. This project, funded by DFID, created more than one million jobs. It has also led to the establishment of a network of trainers and business counsellors that can be mobilised at short notice, including in the earthquake affected areas.
The ILO will work primarily with the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Services and the local human resource bureaux, which are responsible for implementation of a range of employment promotion measures and programmes.
In the disaster area, Emergency Employment Services have already been established to identify the demands and interests of job seekers. Entrepreneurs in need of assistance to re-launch their business or prospective new entrepreneurs will be identified through this channel.
For more information about the E-SIYB project please contact:
Ms Gao Ping, Department for International Development Beijing office
Tel: +86 10 8529-6882 x 2003