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How UNIDO and EBN Collaborate for Private Sector and Innovation Ecosystem Development in Post-Crisis Countries

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The joint publication by the European Business and Innovation Centre Network (EBN) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) “Private Sector and Business Ecosystems Development in Post-Crisis Countries”- UNIDO & EBN Collaboration: A Catalyst for Peacebuilding, Resilience, and Economic Growth” delves into the innovation and entrepreneurship challenges and solutions in post-crisis countries. This collaboration underscores the pivotal role of private sector development and robust business ecosystems in fostering peacebuilding, resilience, and economic growth.

The Role of Businesses in Peacebuilding and Development

Sustainable peace and development hinge on inclusive processes that engage various stakeholders, including politicians, governmental bodies, humanitarian organisations, and businesses. Businesses are not mere bystanders but active participants in peacebuilding through initiatives such as education and vocational skills training, environmental and health improvements, and corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities. These efforts significantly contribute to reducing unemployment, enhancing employability, addressing technical skills and labour demands, and increasing youth participation in socio-economic activities.

Collaborative efforts between international organisations like UNIDO, regional partners like EBN, and local stakeholders are essential for fostering innovation, driving economic growth, and promoting sustainable peace and prosperity in these regions.

UN Initiatives for Private Sector Development

The United Nations (UN) has been at the forefront of supporting private-sector development in post-crisis countries through initiatives like the UN Global Compact and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The UN Global Compact encourages businesses to adopt sustainable and socially responsible practices, promoting economic growth, job creation, and social inclusion. Meanwhile, the SDGs provide a comprehensive framework that guides international efforts to foster economic recovery, job creation, and inclusive growth, addressing the underlying causes of conflict and promoting long-term stability.

UNIDO’s Efforts in Somalia

In Somalia, UNIDO’s initiatives in private sector development are instrumental in rebuilding the economy, fostering peace, and ensuring social inclusion. UNIDO focuses on empowering local businesses, encouraging entrepreneurship, and attracting foreign direct investment through targeted investments, capacity-building programmes, and policy reforms. Key initiatives include the PSDP project (“Productive Sectors Development Programme“), the “Agro-technology Development for Economic Growth in South and Central Somalia” and the “Compact Fund for Inclusive Financing of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in Somalia”. These projects aim to provide technical and vocational skills training, establish agro-technology and Enterprise Development Units (EDUs), and offer dedicated credit facilities to support SMEs.

BIC Africa project

UNIDO collaborates with EBN in the African Business Incubator Communities (BIC Africa) initiative, funded by the European Union, to stimulate entrepreneurship and support innovative startups in Eastern and Southern Africa. This partnership aims to create a regional network to support business incubators to stimulate entrepreneurship and create new innovative start-ups in Eastern and Southern Africa, specifically focusing on youth and women.

EBN’s Contribution to Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Europe – and beyond

EBN, with the EU|BIC community, supports innovation and entrepreneurship in Europe by offering a wide range of business services spanning from incubation and acceleration, and access to finance, to internationalisation, open innovation and regional innovation ecosystem development services.

In the country project BIC Somalia (chapter of BIC Africa), UNIDO highlights that the collaboration with EBN harnesses their expertise in business support and the EU|BIC community’s focus on entrepreneurship and innovation services. UNIDO Somalia and EBN work together to strengthen Somalia’s entrepreneurial ecosystem by supporting local businesses with technical expertise, capacity-building, and knowledge sharing.

Key synergies of the partnership include:

  • Entrepreneurship Support: EBN and EU|BIC community provide incubation, mentoring, and funding for start-ups, aligning with UNIDO’s efforts to promote SME growth in developing countries.
  • Business Networking and Partnerships: EBN facilitates collaborations between European businesses and those in UNIDO’s beneficiary countries to encourage trade, investment, and knowledge exchange.
  • Capacity Building: EBN offers capacity-building programmes to enhance the skills of entrepreneurs and business support organisations, supporting UNIDO’s focus on sustainable practices and technology adoption.

Through this collaboration, UNIDO and EBN demonstrate the value of international partnerships in supporting the private sector and fostering peace in post-crisis countries like Somalia. This initiative serves as a model for mobilising resources and expertise for growth and resilience.

The Role of Entrepreneurship and Business Support Organisations

Entrepreneurship and Innovation Support Organisations (ESOs / ISOs) are pivotal in post-crisis countries. These organisations create economic opportunities, promote social inclusion, and foster innovation by supporting startups and SMEs with resources, mentorship, training, and funding opportunities.


The confluence of private sector development, entrepreneurship, and peacebuilding is crucial for addressing the challenges faced by post-crisis countries. Collaborative efforts between international organisations like UNIDO, regional partners like EBN, and local stakeholders are essential for fostering innovation, driving economic growth, and promoting sustainable peace and prosperity in these regions.

For more insights and detailed information, explore the joint publication by EBN and UNIDO on “Private Sector and Business Ecosystems Development in Post-Crisis Countries” which you can access here below.

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