Entrepreneurial training project in China: Retraining laid-off workers

Bingxin Wang, Athena Vongalis-Macrow

Abstract


Despite the tremendous economic progress made by the Chinese economy, averaging a nine percent growth per year, one section of the community remains outside the economic boom. As state-owned enterprises (SOEs) restructure into more efficient organisations able to compete in the global economy, the plight of workers within these enterprises has become a pressing issue.  No longer able to depend on a job for life, these workers present challenges for local governments. One initiative proposed by the International Labour Organisation called the Start Your Own Business (SYB) Program has been identified as a way to retrain laid-off workers, xiagang. By focussing on one city in China, this paper analyses some of the key issues associated with this program. Using anecdotal evidence from workers who have undergone the retraining, the paper has identified at least three areas of concern for workers participating in the SYB retraining program. Access to seed funding, the implementation of knowledge and skills into practice, and furthering support and guidance in market analysis remain issues for the continued success of this program.

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