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UN and EU to create support network for startups and SMEs

UN and EU to create support network for startups and SMEs

United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) director-general Li Yong has said the United Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU) should work together on better support for SMEs and startups.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the engines of economic growth in most countries, and they almost always account for the vast majority of jobs. As several of the world’s major economies struggle to get back into recovery mode, and many developing nations seek opportunities for new growth, offering extra support to small businesses is likely to be an important economic tool.


This week, UN officials highlighted the vital role that global collaboration can play in boosting SMEs so they can propel the world to faster growth.

Speaking at the launch of the latest high level review meeting between EU and UNIDO, UNIDO director-general Li Yong explained that closer co-operation is key.

UNIDO and the EU’s Directorate General for Enterprise and Industry have signed an agreement on implementing policies aimed at encouraging SME activity, and Mr Yong explained that the two organisations need to work together on creating the right framework to enable small firms to thrive. That goes for SMEs within the sluggish EU as well as worldwide.

Mr Yong added that industrialisation is an important way to transform the economies of developing nations, and governments around the world are working hard to engineer better standards of living for their citizens by encouraging new businesses and giving SMEs the support they need to grow.

“Statistical evidence in the last 30 years demonstrates that economic transformation through industrialisation has stimulated spectacular growth in countries which have chosen this policy option,” he said.

“Supported by a dynamic private sector, particularly SMEs, increased value addition and economic diversification have contributed to lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.”


UNIDO and the EU are working together on a number of initiatives – the EU has committed to supporting businesses in Africa through the Accelerated Industrial Development of Africa strategy that was drafted by UNIDO.

According to Mr Yong, UNIDO is ready to help bring the plans to life.

This emphasis on boosting business in developing economies such as those in Africa is also intended to have a direct effect for companies in Europe. After all, with growing economies come promising new markets that could allow EU SMEs to expand and increase their own chances of success. In the long run, that will give Europe a boost as well.

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