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This handbook is designed as a guide for setting up a small-scale business. Although meant for persons with disabilities, it offers basic knowledge for successful business management and self-employment for all small farmers to help them in generating income and improving their quality of life. The handbook is divided into four parts.

The first part outlines the structure of the handbook. It explains the need for economic self-reliance for rural people with disabilities and how self-employment as a small-scale entrepreneur offers them a good alternative to being hired by another person. It evaluates the difficulties and advantages of this form of self-employment for a disabled person when compared to working for an employer.

The second part deals with the crucial aspect of the methodology used in training persons with disabilities. It outlines the importance of the attitude and orientation of the trainers as well as the steps in the process of training, from selecting, motivating and building the self-confidence of the trainees, to equipping them with the skills for starting and operating a small-scale rural enterprise. Disabilities differ in kind and degree and two persons with the same disability may have dissimilar abilities. This section stipulates ways of dealing with specific issues that can arise when training persons with disabilities and the need for follow-up action.

The third part reviews basic steps in the preparation and setting up of a micro-enterprise. It looks at the various challenges encountered by new micro-entrepreneurs and those that are specific to persons with disabilities starting a small-scale enterprise. It informs potential micro-entrepreneurs about selecting the right business, reviewing market demand and competition, choosing the size of their planned enterprise and the importance of location. It gives some direction on where to seek funding, resource organizations, where and how to select raw materials, and offers a checklist to verify feasibility.

Furthermore, it reviews the various components of marketing and guides potential micro-entrepreneurs through the various steps involved in running the business, including basic accounting, cash-flow and strategic timing for expanding the enterprise. Finally, it addresses the advantages of training and explains how the success case replication methodology can and has been used as a tool for training persons with disabilities. Overall, it reviews the major steps in decision making and the need for technical know-how, marketing strategy development, access to credit and funding, accounting and management skills, and informed selection of raw materials.

This part does not claim to answer all questions related to micro-enterprise development for persons with disabilities in rural areas. However, the suggestions and ideas presented should help in avoiding problems that are commonly encountered.

The fourth part on the success case replication methodology uses examples of successful micro-entrepreneurs as models and trainers for people who wish to start their own micro-enterprise. It examines the methodology, which has been tested in Asian countries, and the strengths and weaknesses of each of its nine steps. It also examines how the methodology can be used to train persons with disabilities in rural areas and explains the role of the field worker or organizer.

The handbook is illustrated with case studies of farmers with disabilities who have become successful micro-entrepreneurs. The examples highlight the initial steps in their becoming entrepreneurs, some of the specific problems they encountered and how they overcame their disabilities. The case studies also show how some persons with disabilities who became successful micro-entrepreneurs decided to share their knowledge by training others.

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