18 June 2018 - 22 June 2018

Policies and practices for enterprise formalisation and SME development

18 June 2018 - 22 June 2018

Policies and practices for enterprise formalisation and SME development

Policies and practices for enterprise formalisation and SME development

Course Information

18 June 2018 - 22 June 2018


Turin Centre

Code: A9011253


Deadline: 21 May 2018

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Based on practical cases and exchanges of experiences and good practices, the course provides in-depth insights into the constraints and challenges that SMEs and microenterprises face in the informal economy and promising policies and strategies to facilitating the transition of enterprises to the formal sector.



Based on practical cases and exchanges of experiences and good practices, the course provides in-depth insights into the constraints and challenges that SMEs and microenterprises face in the informal economy and promising policies and strategies to facilitating the transition of enterprises to the formal sector.

Target audience

Target audience

The course targets decision makers and practitioners tasked with implementing measures to support initiatives geared toward the formalization of enterprises and SME development. This extends to governments, organized labour and organized businesses, as well as business development service providers.



The private sector provides around 90 percent of jobs in developing countries and must be at the core of any response to the double challenge of creating jobs and improving job quality. It is estimated that by 2020, some 600 million jobs need to be created, mainly in Africa and Asia, largely due to demographic trends. In most of the countries in these regions, informality and underemployment, rather than unemployment, are the main decent work challenges. What kinds of policies and strategies can promote enterprise formalization and small enterprise development?

It becomes therefore crucial to understand the constraints that the private sector - and in particular the informal sector - faces in creating decent employment in order to be able to remove or minimize the obstacles to decent jobs creation and proceed towards the formalization of employment and enterprises.

The informal economy refers to all economic activities by workers and economic units that are – in law or
in practice – not covered or insufficiently covered by formal arrangements.

The informal sector as part of the informal economy refers to economic units not covered or insufficiently covered by formal arrangements. Informality in micro and small enterprises includes entities not registered with the relevant authorities for licenses and permits; entities not registered with tax authorities; economic units characterized by lack of compliance with labour regulation, employing un-declared workers, without
labour contracts and social security; entities un(der) declaring sales of products and services.
While the informal economy provides alternative economic opportunities and livelihoods, it is also  characterised by high levels of decent work deficits arising from the informality of operations and working arrangements.

Global evidence shows that in order to change these dire prospects, enterprises and their employees must become more productive through their formalization.e. Formalization of the informal sector is an important path to decent jobs creation in the private sector, as the ultimate goal of enterprise formalization initiatives is to create more and better jobs, reduce poverty and address marginalisation of those who are especially vulnerable to the most serious decent work deficits in the informal economy.

For governments and society, the formalization of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises goes hand in hand with a conducive business environment, economic growth and better working conditions. It also
increases tax revenues which in turn are needed to provide public goods and services. Formal businesses benefit from enterprise formalization in the sense that it reduces unfair competition by informal firms.
Formalizing enterprises gain access to finance, business development services and technologies and reduce their exposure to government fines. They can also participate in public biddings or act as suppliers or retailers of larger companies.

What promising policies and practices can enable informal enterprises to become formal and thereby contribute to more and better jobs?




Upon completion of the course, you will  

  1. Get a better understanding of what informal enterprises are , their characteristics and diversity;
  2. Further understand and reflect on the barriers to enterprise formalization and SME development in general,
  3. Explore policies and strategies undertaken successfully in a number of countries to facilitate the formalization of small enterprises and their employees,
  4. Assess practical interventions and tools to promote small enterprise development and business formalization. 


A knowledge acquisition test might be administered to assess the new knowledge participants acquired during the policy course.

Training materials

Participants will have access to all course materials (speaker presentations, case studies and further reading, etc.) in electronic format and on our virtual campus.


Technical content and Programme

Technical content and Programme

The course begins with an analysis of informality and informal enterprises, before presenting and assessing the effectiveness of a range of practical measures to upgrade small enterprises and promote their transition to formal enterprises. This includes as well the formalization of the jobs SMEs create and bringing decency in the working environment within this segment of enterprises... Enterprise formalization initiatives combine measures to reduce registration and compliance costs with incentives and business development initiatives.

The pre-course phase - 1 week (upon early registration of all participants)

First, the pre-course phase introduces the conceptual framework around the informal economy. Participants during this phase will get acquainted with the causes, drivers, magnitude and dimensions of informality.

Second, participants will discuss the challenges informal sector enterprises  face to formalise, gain more productivity and create decent jobs. Participants will familiarize themselves with some of the key definitions and data related to informality among small enterprises.

Finally, The content and implications of ILO Recommendation 204 concerning the transition from the informal to the formal economy, adopted by the 2015 International Labor Conference, will be presented and discussed.  

Face-to-face course in Turin

The face- to-face residential phase in Turin focuses on practical experiences (strategies, tools, measures) on how to foster enterprise formalization and private sector development, to create decent jobs. Participants will share and exchange on policies and strategies that have been adopted in some countries to overcome such constraints with a view to facilitating the transition of enterprises to the formal sector.
The technical sessions  will seek to answer the following : 

1. What could be the incentives and benefits for enterprises in the informal economy to formalize?
2. Which areas of the business environment require attention in order to encourage the transition to
3. What kinds of business environment reforms have worked best to bring informal firms and transactions
into the formal economy, and what has not worked?

The following building blocks will be discussed
A. Diagnostics of drivers of informality among SMEs

An assessment of the informal sector informs about the extent of informal enterprises and informal employment in these enterprises, the characteristics of informal enterprises, and the main drivers that shape informality. Drivers may be specific to enterprises (e.g. low capacity to formalize) or may relate to the environment (e.g. legal framework). Participants will be exposed to different sources of information on SMEs, tools for data collection (enterprise surveys; analysis concerning the legal, policy, regulatory and institutional environment.) Tools such as the enabling environment for sustainable enterprises (EESE) will be presented as it puts a special focus on enterprise formalization.

 B. Policies and other measures for business formalization ranging from:

  • Streamlining/simplifying  business registration, licensing and compliance ;
  • Promoting incentives for formalization (Simplify business registration and operation; Increase social security coverage; facilitate market access),
  • Enhance business productivity through business upgrading and  access to finance) , strengthen enforcement and compliance in particular labor compliance through preventive and corrective measures;
  • Strengthening associations of businesses and facilitating e dialogue with key stakeholders that play a role in enabling business environment and formalization.

In addition, through practical sessions and groups works , participants will get exposed to existing tools such as those building entrepreneurship and business skills ( KAB, SIYB, SCORE, WISE, WIND to name few) or providing market access  (value chain development, local economic development ) and assess their relevance in enhancing formalization of SMEs and their employees.


How to apply

How to apply

The following process will allow you to effectively plan your course registration and preparation to come to Turin. It will also allow you to efficiently manage your application.


Candidates wishing to participate in the course are invited to send us:

1. An online registration form duly completed using the application link; 

2. An official letter of financial support issued by your organization (or donor) specifying that it will cover the following:

  • The total cost of participation to the course OR  the balance of the participation fee (if you receive a grant from the Center) OR the amount that your organization or donor can consider
  • Travel expenses between the country of origin and the Training Center.

Only candidates who will produce both documents (online form and cover letter) will be considered. Please attach the cover letter to the registration form or send it to 


A limited number of partial scholarships is available. The selection of candidates to benefit from these scholarships will be made according to the following criteria:

1. Proven professional experience in the technical fields relevant to the training; and justification on how the activity will strengthen your professional skills and how you will use them in your organization.

2. Participation cost - capacity to cover ( partially or fully) the costs and the air ticket


Please note that the Turin Training Center can only confirm your candidature to the training you are interested in after receipt of the three documents mentioned above: registration form, letter of sponsorship and confirmation of ticket financing.

When the application is accepted, it is the responsibility of the participants to obtain a Schengen visa. Visa applications must be submitted at least four weeks before the beginning of the activity, accompanied by a letter of support from the Turin Center. Like travel expenses, the costs related to obtaining the visa are the responsibility of the participant.

Attention: Please do not proceed to the purchase of your plane ticket before receiving the official selection notice from the Turin Center.


Tuition cost: 1600

Subsistence cost: 615

Total cost: 2215


International Training Centre of the ILO

Viale Maestri del Lavoro, 10
10127 Turin - Italy

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