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Project example: Albania

Professional opportunities in their own country

In order for young people to have real opportunities in their country, Albania’s vocational education system must be reformed. Swisscontact is helping to link vocational schools with the private sector and ensures that vocational education better reflects the needs of the labour market.

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Project example: Colombia

Swiss expertise opens up opportunities for global markets

To improve the enabling environment for exports, Swisscontact is connecting and strengthening organisations both locally and nationally. This will also result in jobs being created in economically disadvantaged regions and a more diversified economy.

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Global Projects

Senior Expert Corps (SEC)

Since being founded in 1979, SEC has conducted more than 3,000 short-term consultancy assignments supporting many SMEs and institutions across the developing world and Eastern Europe.

The consultancies are carried out by retired Swiss experts on a volunteer basis. Currently, the SEC has a pool of more than 700 active experts. They represent a broad assortment of expert profiles with decades of practical experience. In 2018 the SEC conducted 127 assignments in 21 countries.

In 2018 the SEC conducted an impact study that investigated 205 assignments carried out from 2013 through 2017. The study shows that over 93% of SEC clients experienced growth after receiving support from a Senior Expert. 40% of these companies cited the Senior Expert’s service as a decisive factor in their growth. Through their service, the experts helped create 4,700 jobs and generated increases in earnings totalling US$25 million. Moreover, all clients surveyed referenced improvements in staff and management conduct as the primary result.


Swiss Import Promotion Programme (SIPPO)

SIPPO strengthens selected export promotion organisations and business support organisations (BSOs) in 11 partner countries so that they can provide targeted commercial services to export-ready client companies.

Swisscontact has been implementing the SECO-financed SIPPO programme together with BHP Brugger and Partners Ltd. and HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation since 2017. SIPPO’s objective is to strengthen export structures in partner countries.

More than 55 BSOs were able to build their capacities in 2018 thanks to SIPPO. The programme supports any BSO in those areas where they require the most improvement, in order to serve as the link between exporters and importers while offering their members professional export support services as well as finding them interesting clients. With SIPPO’s support, BSOs attended 15 trade fairs around the world, organising six procurement visits and eight study tours.

SIPPO works closely with  Germany’s and the Netherlands’ import promotion programmes, for example by jointly developing training materials for use by the BSOs. The “Customer Relationship Management for BSOs” initiative was launched in 2018 and tested in an initial pilot programme. It is being offered to interested BSOs in 2019. With its second “Import Promotion Forum”, SIPPO highlighted its visibility in Switzerland and showed the importance of importing businesses for the Swiss and EU economy.


Swiss Entrepreneurship Program (Swiss EP)

Swisscontact is already in the third year of implementing Swiss EP in six countries. Swiss EP works closely with accelerators and incubators. They do this, for example, through programmes that advise startup founders in the development of their companies.

Together with the most promising of these accelerators and incubators, the Swiss EP team edited the contents and process of their business founder programmes. An emphasis has also been placed on developing the management capacities of these organisations.

The «Entrepreneurs in Residence»-Initiative is the most effective tool of Swiss EP: experienced founders from around the world work up to three months in local environments. They gain deeper insight into the company structure and identify areas for improvement. In all countries, the Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIRs) enjoy high regard and encounter positive feedback. Especially in the Balkans, the EIRs located far away from capital cities have been supported by numerous organisations in order to raise more attention to entrepreneurship in those areas.

The second edition of the Peer Exchange Meetup for managers of startups was once again a great success. The project team is proud of the steadily growing network of support from Switzerland. The highpoint was a Peruvian participant after the meetup who went of his own accord to Vietnam to get a sense of the local situation there. Another result of the exchange is that organisations in Balkan countries increasingly are collaborating with each other across borders.

Collaboration over the long term is the be-all and end-all of a successful business ecosystem, and each day Swisscontact is helping to improve it. As indicated in an external mid-term evaluation: Swiss EP is unique in a surprising way – being demand-driven and fostering recipient ownership. Swiss EP is financed by SECO.

Donor Committee for dual Vocational Education and Training (DC dVET)

As the knowledge hub for dual apprenticeship-based education in international development cooperation, the Donor Committee for dual Vocational Education and Training (DC dVET) encourages productive discussion between its members and partners.

In 2018, DC dVET moderated a workshop in the Republic of Moldova. An intense discussion was held with members and project partners on subjects ranging from the role of business to results and impact measurement. In addition, a tool to include the private sector in vocational education was finalised (author: Prof. Dr D Fuler).

The members of the DC dVET are:
Austrian Development Agency (ADA),
German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ),
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC),
Liechtenstein Development Agency (LED).

To coordinate and implement DC dVET activities, donors have set up a secretariat led by a consortium constituted by Swisscontact, the Institute for Professional Development, Labour Market and Social Policy (INBAS), KEK-CDC Consultants, and Lechner, Reiter & Riesenfelder Social Research OG (L&R Sozialforschung).

New collaboration with Credit Suisse

The new partnership between Credit Suisse and Swisscontact promotes entrepreneurship and innovation. With the support of the Credit Suisse Financial Inclusion Initiative and further investment by Swisscontact, a three-year programme has been launched.

With its experience in project implementation and exchange with international experts and donor organisations, Swisscontact identified the need to implement best practices in supporting entrepreneurship and business growth, ensuring that initiatives are assessed and vetted with each other. Financing provided during a company’s startup phase constitutes an important element of this support.

On this basis, Swisscontact developed its guidelines for promoting entrepreneurship in 2018. These formed the basis of intense discussions with domestic and international donor organisations on how best to develop and implement customised business support solutions. These discussions also helped improve coordination between international donor organisations and private donors, which had been lacking up to that point.

Swiss Foundation for Technical Cooperation
Hardturmstrasse 123
CH-8005 Zurich

Tel. +41 44 454 17 17
Fax +41 44 454 17 97
E-Mail info@STOP-SPAM.swisscontact.org