In 2019, the SEC celebrated its 40th anniversary. Since being founded in 1979, the SEC has implemented more than 3,000 short-term assignments which strengthened many SMEs and institutions in developing countries and Eastern Europe. The assignments are carried out voluntarily by retired Swiss experts.
Currently the SEC boasts a pool of over 700 active experts. They represent broadly diverse expertise and decades of practical experience. In 2019 the SEC implemented 127 assignments in 21 countries. The volunteer work carried out by our experts has been valued at approximately 1,905,000 Swiss francs.
In late 2019, the project formerly known as the Senior Expert Corps removed the outdated term “Corps” from its name and is now called the “Senior Expert Contact” programme. The new name underscores the programme’s link to Swisscontact. The new logo takes Swisscontact’s colour pattern but also shows the independent character of the SEC.
2019 saw the end of the first phase of the Swiss Entrepreneurship Programme. It was time to take stock and start the second phase, after the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) accepted the project proposal in May 2019.
The project team can look back on four successful years, during which the needs of innovative start-ups and their support organisations in six countries stood front and centre. During this first phase, Swiss EP supported 66 organisations in 6 countries. The second phase will add to this success. Swiss EP will continue to support local partners, improving their structures and services for start-ups, beefing up the start-up ecosystem as a whole, creating international linkages and improving access to capital for start-ups. In the past year the project team gained top-notch founders from around the world to collaborate with our Swiss EP partners.
The second edition of the Women Entrepreneurs Week took place in Zurich in March. It was encouraging that many people from the Swiss start-up world supported female founders, and follow-up consultancies have since been implemented.
SIPPO strengthens selected export promotion organisations and business support organisations (BSOs) in 11 partner countries so that they can provide professional export promotion services to companies. Swisscontact has been implementing the SECO programme together with BHP Brugger and Partners and HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation since 2017. The programme objective is to strengthen export structures in Swisscontact’s partner countries.
In 2019, more than 55 BSOs were able to improve and professionalise the services they offer thanks to SIPPO. The programme supports the BSOs in those sectors where they have the most potential for improvement, so they can best perform as facilitators between exporters and importers and are able to offer professional export support services to their members and clients. With the support of SIPPO, BSOs participated at 24 trade fairs, 9 study tours, 5 procurement trips, and 2 sales missions around the world. SIPPO works closely with the German and Dutch import promotion programmes, jointly developing training materials and giving these to the BSOs.
SIPPO was a leader in getting eight trade promotion programmes in Europe to sign an agreement for closer cooperation – the Trade Related Instruments Connected Network. Customer Relations Management Tools for BSOs mechanism was developed in 2019, and subsequently the first BSO training in Peru and Colombia was conducted. With the third Import Promotion Forum, SIPPO highlighted its visibility in Switzerland. It showed the importance of imports for the Swiss and EU economy by addressing the influence of digitisation on supply chains.
The Donor Committee for dual vocational education and training (DC dVET) supports discussion among its members, projects, and other actors. In 2019 the Donor Committee also organised, moderated, and technically advised a workshop in Georgia. In addition, the Committee published a paper on the issue of whether financial stimuli for the participation of businesses in vocational education are relevant.
On behalf of DC-dVET members in Benin, the Donor Committee has helped the government there to develop a new vocational education strategy, providing legal and technical support.
Members of the DC dVET are the Austrian Development Agency (ADA), the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), and the Liechtenstein Development Agency (LED).
For the coordination and operational implementation of DC dVET activities, the donors have set up a secretariat led by a consortium comprising Swisscontact, the Institute for Vocational Training, Labour Market and Social Policy (INBAS), KEK-CDC Consultants, and Lechner, Reiter & Riesenfelder Social Research OG (L&R).
The Credit Suisse – Swisscontact Programme (CSSC) is a Financial Inclusion Initiative (FII) from Credit Suisse implemented by Swisscontact. The goal is to identify best practices in promoting entrepreneurship and build business-enabling ecosystems, sharing the findings with the global community.
For this purpose, in January Swisscontact organised a two-day event in Zurich together with the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) on the subject of building and mapping start-up ecosystems. In cooperation with GiZ, ILO, EBRD, and the IFC, Swisscontact organised the first “Beyond the Known” conference in Berlin in November. Participants included more than 100 representatives from the private sector, international donor organisations, and international development cooperation organisations. These events are important tools of the CSSC programme for strengthening knowledge sharing and foster non-competitive cooperation between partners and organisations.
A further key initiative of the CSSC programme is using social network analysis (SNA) in order to better understand business ecosystems. In September the first report on a pilot project in Uganda was published.
Swiss Foundation for Technical Cooperation
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