Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the bedrock of a healthy economy. Those firms and institutions that advise SMEs and provide them with other services therefore play an important role in this regard. As a result of improved basic conditions and good services, entrepreneurs can acquire workplaces and create new jobs – the most effective way of alleviating poverty.
One of Swisscontact's expertise lies in promoting local entrepreneurship with the goal of strengthening its competitiveness. Swisscontact generates pro-poor growth and contributes towards poverty alleviation by business development and enhancing the growth potential and competitiveness (productivity, profitability) of different sectors where the poor participate as producers (farmers, business owners), employees (laborers) and consumers (of goods and services).
Promoting local entrepreneurship with the goal of strengthening its competitiveness. Pro-poor market development projects are another major area of focus for the Swisscontact offices in Bangladesh, Nepal and Indonesia. The largest and most successful market development project in the region is Katalyst based in Bangladesh, which is starting its third phase in 2013. Facilitation of value-chains through private sector led innovations is core to this approach that Swisscontact follows.
Swisscontact supports business development through:
- Improving access to markets
- Improving access to financial services
- Improving access to basic business skills
- Strengthening the links between market actors
Swisscontact has developed comprehensive know-how in the following areas:
- Analyzing markets, sectors and clusters
- Strengthening the links between market actors of value chains and sectors
- Strengthening business service providers and stimulating the demand for business services
- Promoting networks and access to information for SMEs
- Strengthening SME associations and interest groups
- Linking business service providers with financial institutions to improve their offers to SMEs
- Promoting skills development for SME staff
- Advising local and national governments on how to improve the regulatory and legal conditions for SMEs to promote the participation of all stakeholders in a region
- Research and development of new instruments for SME promotion