Session Type
Session Themes
Room number
WIF Virtual Platform, room 15
Contact Email
20 October 2021
15:00 - 17:00 Europe/Zurich

The UNCTAD Ministerial Round Table on Entrepreneurship will bring together international experts and leading authorities from the public and private sectors to discuss the future of entrepreneurship policies in a post-COVID-19 resurgence. Experts will share practical experiences and discuss new policy initiatives that could help countries and micro small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) surmount the current crisis and lead them towards a long-term green, inclusive and resilient recovery in support of the SDGs.

During the COVID-19 crisis many entrepreneurs have had to look for creative solutions to keep afloat. For many, the use of digital technologies has meant lower costs, greater access to markets, better coordination, higher integration and productivity gains.

While many industries have suffered, some have experienced growth since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Examples include enterprise technology services, home entertainment, telemedicine, medical equipment suppliers, e-commerce retailing, e-learning, cybersecurity, and sanitary product manufacturing, among others.

Both the efficiency gains from the acceleration in digitalization and the shifts in the growth potential of industries have implications for policies to promote entrepreneurship and support MSMEs in developing countries.

Taking place in this context, the Ministerial Round Table will provide a forum for international experts and leading authorities from the public and private sectors to share experiences and to envisage strategies to deal with the effects of the COVID-19 crisis on MSMEs and the entrepreneurship sector.

Issues to be addressed

  • What policies can help MSMEs overcome the long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic? What is the role of regional and international cooperation?
  • What institutional changes are necessary to accommodate and improve on the innovations that occurred during the pandemic?
  • How will COVID-19 reshape global supply chains, and what can entrepreneurs do to adapt? What policies can help improve market access (both domestic and international) for MSMEs?
  • What will the increased use of digital communication technologies (zoom, social media, teleworking and the like) mean for entrepreneurship skills development and promotion?

Empretec Women in Business: Stories of resilience and success

UNCTAD created the Empretec Women in Business Awards in 2008 as an acknowledgment of the great achievements of women entrepreneurs trained by the Empretec programme. The awards, granted every two years, have made a real impact on the lives of past recipients. They have improved the women’s access to further training, widened their markets and resources and boosted their motivation to continue growing their enterprises. The awards have also helped these women become role models in their communities. Recipients have excelled in developing innovative business ideas, providing jobs, and increasing incomes in their communities.

In the past few months, UNCTAD has gathered compelling stories from twenty women who were selected from among the over 100 finalists to the Empretec Women in Business Awards through its seven editions, since 2008 until 2020. The stories, published on UNCTAD social media and websites, are told by the finalists and reveal each woman entrepreneur’s personal journey: their dreams, their passions, the obstacles and challenges they have faced and continue to face, and how they have overcome them.

The call for nominations for the 2022 Empretec Women in Business Awards will be announced on 20 October 2021.


Secretary-General, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
Ministre des Petites et Moyennes Entreprises de l’Economie Sociale et de l’Artisanat, Cameroon
Minister of Economy, Economic Development and Tourism, Chile
Minister of Industry, Commerce and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Dominican Republic
Minister of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment, Gambia
Minister of Economy, Guatemala
Minister of Industrial Development, SMEs and Cooperatives​​, Mauritius
Minister of Industry and Trade, Mozambique
Minister of Investment, Industry and Entrepreneurship, Seychelles
Minister of Small Business Development, Republic of South Africa
Minister of State for Trade, Industry and Co-operatives, Uganda
Minister of State for Foreign Trade, United Arab Emirates
Minister of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development, Zimbabwe
Senior Minister, Minister of Industry, Science, Technology & Innovation, Cambodia
Deputy Executive Director, International Trade Centre


Director, Division on Investment and Enterprise, UNCTAD and Lead, UNCTAD World Investment Forum