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UNDP and PUM collaborate to support entrepreneurship and promote small and medium enterprises

New York, December 2016 - The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and PUM Netherlands senior experts (PUM) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to support small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and SME supporting organizations in developing countries.
This partnership brings together UNDP, UN’s global development network working in nearly 170 countries and territories, and PUM, one of Europe’s leading professional entrepreneur volunteer service organizations, in exploring ways of collaborating in the promotion of sustainable development of enterprises in general, and the advancement of women entrepreneurs and youth in particular.
The cooperation between UNDP and PUM includes to explore the development of joint vocational training programs advancing entrepreneurship and technical skills, to link SMEs in developing countries to UNDP’s value chain programs for example: in agriculture sector, manufacturing and learn as to share best practices within UNDP and UNDP’s sister organizations.
In the official signing ceremony of the agreement, Magdy Martínez-Solimán, UN Assistant Secretary General and Director of UNDP’s Bureau for Policy and Programme Support said: “Social entrepreneurship is a significant way to bring the world closer to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. This collaboration opens an opportunity to nurture self-reliance and self-sustaining solutions for entrepreneurs and enterprises.” He indicated that he recently raised a question during a global UNDP congress, asking the audience which ones of them had in been contact with local entrepreneurs during the last few weeks. Very few people responded. Subsequently, he asked which ones of them had been in touch with a national organization, and everybody in the room raised their hand. “This goes to show that the national level is still the main focus of UNDP, and cooperation with PUM has great potential for improvement in this regard.” 
Thea Fierens, Member of the Board of PUM, added: “We have been working together towards this moment for some time now, and I am very thankful for this outcome. UNDP is a global leader in promoting and fostering entrepreneurship, and we look forward to leverage our practical, hands-on expertise from our volunteer experts as well as former entrepreneurs to enterprises supported by UNDP country programmes. PUM has been dedicated to support entrepreneurship and fight poverty for over 40 years, having advised over 40,000 entrepreneurs globally to date. We believe this partnership will bring our impact to a higher level.”
Thea Fierens explained further: “The strength of the cooperation lies in the comprehensive connection of micro and meso levels. On a national level enabling environment is an important focus, while local entrepreneurs, who represent the core of the business and society, need national mechanisms like Chambers of Commerce, branche organizations, chain approach and capacity development. This connection is of great benefit for both sides. I am looking forward to a pleasant and solid implementation.” 
UN Ambassador Karel van Oosterom emphasized to be very pleased about the Memorandum of Understanding. “The entrepreneur to entrepreneur character and capacity development approach of PUM increases the sustainability of local entrepreneurs, while UNDP works on a national level to strengthen SME’s by doing research, providing training and paying attention to enabling environment. The cooperation of both organizations will lead to even greater impact.”
Magdy Martínez-Solimán added: “Private sector development is very important to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Enabling environment on a national level causes real impact. SME’s can make a difference; PUM can help make this happen. I am confident this cooperation will be a success and I hope and expect that we will take the right steps and find the right approach to make the difference.”

UNDP and PUM have already explored collaboration in Haiti, Sierra Leone, Ukraine, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Thailand, Rwanda and Central Asia. Signing of the Memorandum of Understanding aims to support rolling out collaboration in more countries.
About UNDP
UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in 177 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations.
Contact information
UNDP: Sangita Khadka, Communications Specialist | UNDP Bureau for Policy and Programme Support | Email: | Tel: +1 212 906 5043
PUM: Ingrid Goethart, Team Leader Communications and Tel: +31 (0)70 349 05 75