Micro and Small BusinessesBeneficiaries

The direct beneficiaries of the Empretec Programme include existing SMEs that have a track record of good business performance, potential entrepreneurs with promising business ideas, and start-up companies with good bankable project proposals. It is expected that the individual development of the entrepreneurs that takes place during an ETW will lead to SME growth, linkages with larger enterprises including transnational corporations (TNCs), job creation, increased investment, and regional economic development.

Youth Entrepreneurs

Empretec supports the development of curricula in formal education programmes. In some countries, Empretec’s methodology has been selected by governments to develop curricula for primary and secondary schools on the strength of its excellent, decade-spanning track record. Empretec participates in the Global Entrepreneurship Week – a global initiative to inspire young people around the world to embrace innovation, imagination and creativity.

Women Entrepreneurs

While the number of women entrepreneurs is growing across the globe, women still have lower participation rates in entrepreneurship than men. Studies have shown that women-owned enterprises are, to a much higher proportion, located in the informal sector than are firms owned by men. Additionally, women often carry an extra burden: they must divide their time between business and family.

Steps are then needed to support and promote entrepreneurship among women. Women should be offered training, assistance and mentoring in how to establish and expand a business and these services should be tailored to their needs. UNCTAD’s Empretec programme and the Empretec Women in Business Awards are intended to serve this purpose.


Managers with entrepreneurial attitudes – “intrapreneurs” – are increasingly needed to help these large companies develop competitive strategies and achieve their goals. Empretec trains:

  • Mid-level and top managers to identify business opportunities;
  • Employees of companies in the process of privatization, and/or downsizing and outsourcing, so that they can significantly reduce staff and increase efficiency; and
  • Employees who have lost their jobs and who are willing to start their own businesses.