Ethiopian Business Development Services Network (EBDSN)

 Entrepreneurship and Management Training

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Introduction to the CEFE approach:

  • Design

  • The appreciation workshop

  • The needs assessment

  • Screening candidates

  • Identifying complementary support

  • Linking learning with activity

  • Processing lessons

  • Supporting enterprising behaviour

  • Cultural orientation

  • Business management skills

  • Sustainability

  • Choice of implementing agency

  • Qualifiying trainers

  • Follow-up

  • Monitoring and evaluation


CEFE exercises:

  • Workshop introduction exercises

  • Project ideas generation

  • Business planning

    • Market analysis

    • Production

    • Organisation/Management

    • Finance

Table of contents 
of the CEFE manual of trainers:

The concept I Basic elements for training

Organizing I Exercises

CEFE library

Cost calculating manual

Creation of Enterprises through Formation of Entrepreneurs (CEFE)  

Basic Guidelines for successful CEFE interventions to the top

There are two main CEFE product groups, courses aimed at existing or potential entrepreneurs, and courses for personnel from enterprise support or regulatory agencies. Both products have the objective of improving the business performance of entrepreneurs. One is more direct while the other is more indirect working on the enabling environment rather than entrepreneurs themselves. Both are considered to be valuable in the design of any CEFE programme. The four primary considerations made during the design phase are: the preparation for the Appreciation Workshop for Enterprise Support Personnel; the conducting of a needs assessment on the target group; the screening of participants and the structuring of institutional resources to support participants with post-course follow-up.

The Appreciation Workshop
The course for the staff of enterprise support or regulatory agencies, or the Appreciation Workshop is usually the first of the products to be delivered in a new environment which has had little prior exposure to CEFE. There are several immediate objectives to this course: to develop an appreciation by participants of the enterprise development process and to draw attention to the role that the participants can play in this process; to identify and possibly influence the cultural norms associated with enterprising behaviour; to induce the emergence of embryonic enterprising behaviour; to explore complementary relationships between institutions that may assist the entrepreneur in start-up or growth; and to determine the scope of assistance open to the various target groups in that particular micro climate.

The needs assessment
During the design phase a choice has to be made concerning the specific target group to be addressed. The segments may break down as follows for existing or start-up businesses by: sex, age, ethnic group, education background, enterprise sector, location, size, ownership structure,  technology, raw materials, former occupation or any other variables that are considered to be important to that particular application of CEFE. Prior to the conducting of any course for entrepreneurs a needs assessment of the target group should be conducted which takes into consideration: cultural stereotypes associated with enterprising behaviour and the running of a business, this may evoke the adaptation of training materials or methods to be more sensitive to these issues; an assessment of the target group's resource endowments such as experience, education, natural resources, institutional resources such as finance, counselling or technology; and a rapid assessment of the potential opportunities to assist in the preparation of more appropriate content and methods for this part of the course. The result of the needs assessment is a modified course and more sensitised trainers capable of providing more informed guidance of the entrepreneur's micro climate throughout the course.

Screening candidates
The third factor at this stage is the selection or screening of potential participants. Most people have the ability to start or run a business. Those who have a higher degree of competence, a good knowledge of their micro climate, resources, motivation, cultural and environmental support are more likely to succeed. There is no set winning formula for the "right" combination of these attributes in an applicant. An issue that is frequently debated with respect to selection is "if an applicant scores very highly during selection, they would probably make it anyway without the support of the course, so where is the value-added or additionality?", on the other hand selecting people with no knowledge of their micro climate, low motivation, poor skills, no access to resources and operate in an inhospitable culture and macro economic situation will probably have little impact on anything. Most frequently CEFE courses are arranged for the less advantaged target groups, and in such situations it makes sense to make some attempt to pick participants on the basis of their potential impact on the economy in question and possible the demonstration effect they will have on the culture of the rest of the target group. If time permits, the costs of selection can be reduced to a minimum by extending the selection process time to one month during which time applicants are give specific tasks related enterprise growth. The quality with which the tasks are performed provides indicators that are the best measure of a candidate's will, skill and commitment. If some access to resources can be coupled with these qualities the CEFE course should be able to impart the competencies this person needs to start or expand their business. Establishing a fee for the course is also another barrier that may elicit a favourable self selection of participants. The determination of the size of the fee should be based on the economic circumstances of the target group, the number of applicants in relation to places, and the probable transaction costs already attributed to the participant in terms of transport, accommodation, foregone income etc. Charging some fee is always recommended as it does establish a more business-like relationship between participants and promoters and generates a sense of value to the whole exercise.

Identifying complementary support
The fourth factor to be considered during the design phase is to determine how to structure the institutional support in a minimalist way. The major emphasis should be placed on using the CEFE course as the trigger event for most of the participants to either start-up a business or significantly expand it. Higher success rates can be achieved through programmes that are linked with other support institutions, particularly those associated with resource access. Maximum costs-effectiveness can be achieved if the direct costs of the CEFE intervention and the entrepreneurs time and transaction costs are minimised on the one hand and business performance can be increased on the other. This will usually require prior agreements with support institutions to ensure that complementarity or a "fit" can take place and that minimal resources are needed to generate a successful outcome.

There are five main factors that are important during the operation of the course: the linking of learning with activity; providing adequate space and time for processing; creating a supporting environment for change; being sensitive to the culture of the target group; and developing technical competence in the field of business management.

Linking learning with activity
The course is based on the premise that motivation, competencies and behaviour can all be learned. The best way to learn these, outside of running a business, is through simulating business situations that are designed to elicit enterprising behaviour. By establishing a causal relationship between changed motivation and changed activity leading to changed behaviour, the next logical step is a changed attitude. For the motivation to be strong it has to arise from a sense of self-discovery, and the participant must own the motivation if the next stage of activity is to have a meaningful impact. Through participation in the activity, enterprising behaviour is encouraged and exercised. This is reinforced with new knowledge so that ample justification exists for sustaining the change. This linkage accounts for the impact that participants feel is beyond their business. It is simply a better way of learning for adults.

Processing lessons
The potential for more profound learning is increased if there is sufficient opportunity for the processing of the lessons. There is a temptation to get caught up in the excitement of the activity which in most cases also has an element of fun to it. Participants must be able to process their feelings and reactions to the structured learning experience before they can identify with any potentially new change. Activity without reflection is more likely to cause confusion and frustration than enterprising behaviour. Sometimes this processing is effective in groups and sometimes and in some cultures this is best done alone or one-on-one with the facilitator. While facilitators are given guidelines for each one of exercises, the emphasis is on self-discovery and ownership of the process to ensure that any change elicited is fully acceptable to the participant.

Supporting enterprising behaviour
A supportive environment for the change is more likely to sustain the change. Ownership of the process has been mentioned before as a key element in any behaviour change, but for the change to be long-lasting the environment of the courses should also be conducive. For example, if participants can see that the change is acceptable to fellow participants, this is a first and positive step, also if the change is approved by persons that are respected the likelihood of maintaining the change is greater. Success stories presented by guest entrepreneurs and endorsements of a career in entrepreneurship by valued persons in authority reinforce the acceptability of the change as well as emphasise the anticipated rewards. Often the group supports the change process most of all by commenting on or praising one another on any kind of obvious enterprising behaviour. Facilitators are trained to be sensitive to the uncertainties, if not insecurities that participants may experience in the process. Although it is not necessary that facilitators be psychologists they are trained in group dynamics and how to support the change process.

Cultural orientation
All CEFE programmes are adapted to the target group. In addition to the specific needs of for example, rural women, or educated unemployed, it is necessary to deal with the cultural norms associated with enterprising behaviour and a career in entrepreneurship. It is often socially unacceptable to be assertive, business like, talk openly about money, or even openly express one's opinion. These are all encouraged in a CEFE course as they are part of the process of opening up, awareness and acceptance. Almost every culture, even if it falls into the above category, has its own ways of doing business. These ways are explored during a course to ensure that culturally acceptable overtones can be laid on enterprising behaviour. The investigation of some of these norms are done during the design stage in the needs assessment however it is only during the course, and with the active participation of the target group that resolutions can be found to blending the culture with entrepreneurship.

Business management skills
Much of what has been said up to now has dealt with the change process, how to stimulate it and reinforce it. Not much attention has been given to the technical aspects of business management. This is because our understanding of these skills is better and we have seen significant steps made in the development of programmed learning materials that are suitable for entrepreneurs. Rather than treating business skill development in a dry way situations are structured to combine activity and learning with a certain amount of fun in order for participants to acquire the skills needed to analyse their businesses. Hours are spent in planning exercises, costing problems, information collection, financial analysis, and the preparation of business plans. Most of the business management training is conducted in a way which simulates the activity of blending personal motivation and competence with opportunity identification and implementation. When participants are competent and confident about their own technical expertise in business they are more able to convince investors, bankers, customers and suppliers, i.e. they are more likely to succeed upon completion of the course.

The CEFE method aims at two levels of sustainability, the first is with the participants of training courses, and the second is with the national and regional implementing institutions that are always used as the executing agencies for a CEFE programme. The sustainability of the results achieved during the training is function of: how well the training was conducted; the preparations for the course related to the involvement of the complementary resource institutions; and the follow-up provided by the host executing agency. At the level of sustaining CEFE within the host executing agencies there are four factors that are of major importance: the choice of the host agency; the development of qualified trainers; effective follow-up from international sponsors of CEFE and the proper use of monitoring and evaluation systems.

Choice of implementing agency
In choosing a host executing agency the ideal candidate is as close to the target group as possible. This closeness is not in terms of proximity but rather in character. The institution should be: relatively small, flexible, sharply focused or minimalistic, aware of its own role and limitations, project a positive image, market oriented and entrepreneurial. While it may not be possible to find an institution in every instance with all of these attributes, the closer one comes to it the more probable it is that the commitment and motivation to sustain the programme will be present.

Qualifying trainers
Product quality can only be sustained if those producing and delivering the product are sufficiently skilled. For this reason a great emphasis is placed on qualifying trainers for the CEFE courses. Regional and sometimes national training of trainers courses are held regularly to maintain and upgrade a pool of experienced and motivated trainers. All practitioners are encouraged to carry out their own research and make written contributions to their agencies as a sounding board for methodological improvements and a launching pad for new concepts and ideas for all of those involved with CEFE. In addition to this international workshops exclusively for CEFE practitioners are regularly organised to introduce innovations and upgrade senior trainers in the latest methods.

There are two levels of follow-up in CEFE, the first is with course participants. Did they receive that loan? did they start their business? What kinds of problems did they encounter? Host institutions are encouraged to network with the enterprise community so as to facilitate opportunities for informal support for ex-participants. These organisations often have counselling services to assist former trainees with serious obstacles encountered in the start-up or growth process.

Monitoring and Evaluation
The fourth key variable in the sustainability of CEFE is monitoring and evaluating results. While the method itself has been positively evaluated, to maintain the quality of each course a well functioning monitoring and evaluation system at the national level is critical. This involves tracking participants down, collecting data, and then analysing the information in order to draw conclusions as to how improvements can be made in either the operation of the course or in the business performance indicators related to new start-ups or business expansion. Monitoring and evaluation systems tailor-made for enterprise promotion have been introduced in several countries and although they are still being tested the results so far have been effective in providing the kind of feedback necessary for the maintenance of quality courses.


CEFE exercises  [top]

You will find in the following some exemplary CEFE exercices (Creation of Enterprises through Formation of Entrepreneurs) for participants of start up and improve your business workshops. Most of the exercises make part of the CEFE manual that you can get for money on the CEFE international webpage


Workshop introduction exercices  developing personal entrepreneurial characteristics (PEC)

Situation analysis (situation analysis.doc (55 KB)

This exercise utilises one key tool from the ”participatory action research” (PAR) toolbox, namely the ”participatory drawing” which has been tested in urban areas as well. While drawing the close environment of the planned business, the participants deeply reflect in how far the different facets of the environment could be harmful (threats) or helpful (opportunities) to their emerging projects.

Tower building (see CEFE international)

In processing the exercise, the group analyses the entrepreneurs’ behaviours concerning the establishment of goals and risks calculation. Another analysed issue is the interference of external pressures, especially the influence of relatives, with the accomplishment of the entrepreneurs’ goals.

To be or not to be (see CEFE international)

In this exercise, participants deal with productive forms of problem solution. As many entrepreneurs, especially small ones, are not used to develop strategies but to react and therefore have to face problems in business life, the exercise has been created to become aware of personal problem solving behaviour. The exercise can be used as an introduction to module strengthening individual entrepreneurial competencies.

Johari window (see CEFE international)

The "Johari Window" helps understanding the process of interpersonal relationship as well as its barriers and chances within a group set-up. It depicts in a simplified form the areas of shared knowledge and information as well as the unshared and the unknown areas. As such, it provides a theoretical framework for the need to share information, seek and provide feedback and openly discuss any matters which are about to come up during the training programme so that learning can take place.

Endangered hotel (see CEFE international)

The ”Endangered Hotel” is quite a new structured learning exercise dealing with the ”art of receiving clients”; it was developed by a group of course participants during a ”Training of Trainers” (ToT) held in Douala, Cameroon in 1996. In the last week of CEFE ToTs, participants are invited to develop new exercises which are tested with their co-participants acting as target group. It happens from time to time, that these exercises developed during ToTs are so convincing and so powerful that they become part and parcel of the standard CEFE repertory.

Tower of Babel (see CEFE international)

In this exercise, participants have to build the highest structure possible using wooden sticks. The participant that builds the highest one will be the winner. The task is presented as to be accomplished individually, but if some participants decide to work in groups, trainer should not interfere.

In processing the exercise, it is important to analyse all performances, especially those that were not successful. Trainer should explore those behaviours which hinder the creative process, such as limited interpretation, strict use of information and non-flexible reasoning. Finally, creativity should be emphasised for entrepreneurship, as it is an important tool for effective problems resolution and for better use of opportunities.

Dart exercise (see CEFE international)

This is an exercise that will make the participants experience the need to formulate appropriate strategies in certain situations. The participants will have to engineer and develop competence to use appropriate strategies in a competitive situation. The exercise will also make the participants experience certain personal enterpreneurial qualities such as risk taking, commitment to work contract, opportunity seeking, goal setting, systematic planning and self-confidence through real money investment.

Personal goal setting (see CEFE international)

This exercise is part of the training module in which participants - after having identified and practised the basic entrepreneurial competencies - are exposed to different situations and environments in which they are expected to apply their competencies appropriately through different action-learning experiences. Facing these different situations they can analyse their own strengths and weaknesses to cope with the entrepreneurial world.


Project ideas generation, screening and selection

Brainstorm exercice (see CEFE international)

Brainstorm is a dynamic tool, where quantities of ideas are offered with no criticism. It can help people solve problems, develop new products or services and increase productivity. In this exercise, the goal is to generate a great amount of product/service ideas as a basis for the identification of an idea of business to be explored in research and new business planning exercises.

Macro screening (macro screening.doc - 55 KB)

The ”Macro Screening” exercise is a short but, nevertheless, very important step positioned between the project idea generation and the final decision about the most promising business idea. Trainers in different countries attach different importance to this link; some ask their participants to screen project ideas down to six whereas others advocate twenty during this step. We think that the most practicable reality is somewhere in between, and we suggest ten project ideas to be picked during this stage.

Search for business ideas (see CEFE international)

This exercise simulates the task of searching for information in 3 different institutions, preparing the participants for the difficulties they will find in fieldwork during the development of a business project.

Micro screening

SWOT analysis (see CEFE international)

The ”SWOT Analysis” (= strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) is the last exercise of the ”project” module during the end of which the participants are supposed to have identified THEIR projects. Based on these concrete project ideas, they will have to undertake their market studies.


Business planning and organizing, problem solution

Introduction to business plan (see CEFE international)

This document contains a very detailed guide to develop a business plan:

Business Plan Format

Business Plan Guide Questions

Part I: GUIDE: Marketing Plan, Production Plan, Organisation & Management Plan, Financial Plan

Part II:  EXAMPLE: Marketing Plan, Production Plan, Organisation & Management Plan, Financial Plan

Part III:  WORKBOOK: Marketing Plan, Production Plan, Organisation & Management Plan, Financial Plan


    a)  Market analysis

Market analysis  (see CEFE international)

With this exercise, the participants get what may be their first contact with a market research. They elaborate and apply a questionnaire twice: first, they prepare a questionnaire to be tested by applying it to their own colleagues in class. The participants tabulate the data gathered and make their own conclusions on this research. This stage will be processed to give the participants feedback. Then they will be asked to repeat this procedure, making the necessary adjustments in order to interview the target group of a specific product. Once again, the data gathered will be tabulated in order to generate valuable information about the product/market. The trainer determines the subject of both researches.

Market room simulation exercice (see CEFE international)

In the market room simulation exercise participants are divided into buyers and sellers. As a result of the buying and selling that occurs participant’s experience the interplay of factors that influence buyers to purchase products. These factors include price, product, place and promotion, the four P’s of the marketing strategy.

Minimarket exercice (see CEFE international)

In this exercise, all participants act as individual sellers, trying to sell a self-made or self-owned item or a service to the trainer who acts as customer. In one corner of the room, a table is prepared with materials participants can use for their production. As in real life, participants have to perform in a limited market, as only few products will be acquired by the trainer. After a short time given for preparation, the mini market is opened to the customer offering many different products and eventually services. He/she walks around, listening to one seller after the other advertise their items. Finally the trainer chooses only three or less products or services


    b)  Production (Costing)

Envelop exercise (envelop exercise.doc - 120 KB)

The envelope exercise is one of the most complex simulation exercises in the CEFE training as it treats all main aspects of a small manufacturing enterprise. These are forecasting, planning, organising and managing, manufacturing, marketing, negotiating, controlling, and financing, as well as team working and leadership. It is also a very lively exercise with real buying and selling transactions.

Mermatex marmalade factory (see CEFE international)

This exercise is a case study, used to introduce participants to the study of the technical aspects of a business plan or the managing of the production area of an enterprise.

Pancake making (see CEFE international)

This exercise is part of the ”Production and Costs” module of the training programme. It introduces the participants to the study of the technical subjects of production management and cost estimation.


    c)  Organization and Management

Gant Chart, Legal Form of Enterprise, Nasa


    d)  Finance

Cash flow exercice, Rooting ships, Profit and Loss Statement, Balance


CEFE manual of trainers  [top]

The CEFE manual of trainers contains the whole procedure of the CEFE training course including practical exercises. 

CEFE manual table of contents

You can get the entire manual for money on the CEFE international webpage

CEFE library  [ top]

For more information on CEFE see papers in the CEFE library

The Cost Calculating Manual  [top]

go to the cost calculating manual

Many people are unaware of costs and waste scarce resources. Cost calculation is the way to calculate the total costs of making and selling a product or providing a service.

How can it improve the business?

  • Costing helps to set prices

  • Costing helps to control and reduce costs

  • Costing helps to plan for the future

  • Costing helps to make better decisions

  • Costing helps to write a business plan to obtain a credit


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