Investing in Business Development

in partnership with Empretec centres
Session Type
Session Themes
Room number
Hall 2 Room 5
Contact Email
19 October 2023
11:00 - 12:00 Abu Dhabi

Many governments around the world have set up networks of business development centres to provide support to start-ups and small businesses. Such centres are often a pillar of private sector development programmes. Business development centres provide a host of products ranging from advisory services on administrative procedures or access to finance to training and capacity-building programmes. What more can these centres do to help promote enterprise and investment geared towards making progress on sustainable development?

Since its creation in 1988, UNCTAD’s Empretec capacity building programme has been a trailblazer. It has ignited businesses, promoted entrepreneurial ecosystems, empowered hundreds of thousands of business owners, and held true to the United Nations’ vision of ensuring micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) are supported and recognized as the backbone of economies everywhere. As a global network of over 40 business development centers, Empretec has empowered over 500,000 entrepreneurs who create jobs and opportunities, drive innovation and economic growth, and address critical challenges in their community – from climate change to poverty and inequality.

In this session, Empretec centres with their national partner institutions and agencies from national ecosystems of MSMEs, will discuss how business development centres can evolve to support entrepreneurs in a fast-changing and complex world, and what partnerships they can engage in to help promote investment in the SDGs.

Session themes:

  • How should the services portfolio of business development centres evolve to support entrepreneurs and MSMEs in a fast-changing world?
  • What strategic partnerships at the national and international levels can help strengthen the provision of business development services?
  • How can business development centres engage in the promotion of investment in SDG-relevant sectors?


Director for Entrepreneurship, UCL Innovation and Enterprise
Chief Executive Officer, Moai Investments Brazil
Chief Executive Officer, Gandara Business Development & Strategy
Executive Vice-President of the Business Sector, Social Development Bank
Manager, Solutions Unit, SEBRAE
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises Development, Zambia
Chief Executive Officer, Traders of Africa
Advisor to the Chairman of the Board, Small and Medium Business Development Agency, Republic of Azerbaijan
Chief General Manager, Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI)