Enterprise Development Manual for Non-Literate Entrepreneurs


In 1998, a pioneering initiative was launched in Bangladesh to develop an enterprise development manual specifically designed for non-literate entrepreneurs, with a primary focus on farmers. The project was part of the “Promotion of Private Sector” (PPS) Project – Component B, a part of the broader GTZ project aiming at the “Promotion of Micro and Cottage Industries.” The initiative was a collaborative effort led by Mr. Torsten Striepke and Shahnaz Kapadia Rahat, the CEO of Mera Maan, aimed at empowering non-literate individuals to actively participate in economic growth and enterprise development.

Narrative of the Project Description:


The project addressed the significant challenges faced by non-literate entrepreneurs, particularly farmers, in accessing resources and developing successful business plans. Prior to this initiative, there were no tailored training programs catering specifically to non-literate individuals in the enterprise development domain. To fill this critical gap, the team embarked on creating an innovative and inclusive training methodology.


– Develop a training manual and program, termed the “Special Training of Trainers” (ToT), that would enable non-literate entrepreneurs, particularly farmers.
– Develop successful business plans and present them effectively to credit officers and institutions.

Project Impact:

The initiative resulted in the creation of the CEFE non-literates training program, a unique and effective product designed exclusively for non-literate individuals. Through a “Special Training of Trainers” program, seventeen trainer-trainees from various Partner Organizations were equipped with the CEFE non-literates training methodology. They were further empowered to train real target groups of non-literate entrepreneurs, consisting of eighteen rural participants, at the PROSHIKA Training Centre in Koitta, Manikgonj. The immersive hands-on training allowed the trainers to refine their skills under the direct supervision of Striepke and Rahat. The training program emphasized the development of business plans, enabling the rural participants to present their farming projects successfully to credit officers. This practical application showcased the transformational potential of effective business planning in the agricultural sector and provided the necessary tools for enterprise development for non-literate individuals. The success of the project resulted in a cadre of competent local facilitators ready to disseminate the CEFE non-literates training program across Bangladesh and beyond. The strategic plan proposed by Striepke and Rahat ensured the wider rollout of the program, extending its outreach and impact to benefit a larger pool of non-literate entrepreneurs, particularly farmers. This pioneering effort has played a significant role in empowering non-literate individuals to participate actively in economic activities, fostering their success and contributing to the overall growth of the enterprise sector in Bangladesh.

Project Details