Reducing poverty and increasing employment by supporting SMEs
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) make a vital contribution to local economic development and poverty reduction by creating jobs and generating income. Despite their size, SMEs harbour great potential and are able to produce for demanding markets such as export markets. Today, however, they are confronted by increasing competitiveness, and their access to foreign markets is constrained by their limited knowledge of international trade, limited marketing capacity, difficulties in identifying trading partners, lack of funding and small range of products.
The development of promotion consortia is an effective and viable way to tackle these problems. Such consortia are generally divided into export consortia and quality consortia.
Export consortia are voluntary partnerships of firms whose aim is to promote the goods and services of their members abroad and to facilitate the export of their products or services through joint action.
Quality consortia are clusters of firms which often operate in the food industry and whose aim is to guarantee the origin, characteristics and quality of their members’ products.
While the benefits of an association for promotion are fairly obvious, getting one to work in practice is an arduous task. In developing countries, attempts to create SME consortia often fail for lack of knowledge and preparation. Outside assistance and capacity building through training is often a key factor in developing strong promotion consortia programmes in any given country.
The aim of this course is to give the participants the knowledge and skills necessary to support the creation and development of promotion consortia. It builds on the experience gained in developing SME clusters and consortia for the following organizations: the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Italian Federation of Export Consortia (Federexport) and the International Labour Organization (ILO).
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