Promoting entrepreneurship

The private sector creates 90% of all jobs worldwide and plays a major role in reducing global poverty. Dynamic and growth-oriented entrepreneurship needs specialised know-how and skilled workers. Switzerland has a successful vocational training system based on the cooperation between vocational schools, firms and the state. Partner countries can learn from this experience.

Many partner countries face high levels of unemployment. One reason is that the vocational training system fails to address employers’ needs. As a result, schools are not providing future employees with the skills that employers are looking for. This is not in the interest of trainees or companies, and it does not contribute to economic growth. Another reason for high unemployment rates is the lack of the right framework conditions, knowledge and investors to help new and innovative businesses enter the market and become competitive.

Entrepreneurial spirit creates jobs

The world is full of people with innovative ideas and a zest for action. They offer enormous potential to create new jobs and contribute to economic growth. However, start-ups in emerging markets often fail shortly after they spring to life. Moreover, existing companies are unable to maximise their growth potential. Firms often lack access to expertise, capital and crucial services in their countries. SECO contributes to improving the conditions for successful entrepreneurship in its partner countries.

Sharing Swiss experience

Switzerland has a well-functioning vocational training system. Its dual system covers the theory – where apprentices attend vocational schools – as well as practical in-company experience. Such close collaboration between training institutions and the private sector produces better trained workers, who acquire the skill sets that companies actually need. SECO coordinates its activities with the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).


Training systems should address the needs of the private sector. In turn, this helps to create better jobs and scale up productivity.


SECO supports the dialogue between public authorities and the private sector in partner countries. The goal is to match the professional skills taught with the companies’ needs. In Indonesia, for example, SECO is fostering a cooperation platform between technical schools, companies and the state.

Improved skills for success

A good vocational training system makes for satisfied workers, who enjoy better prospects on the labour market as a result of increased productivity. Thanks to better-trained workers, a company becomes more competitive and can then expand and create more qualified jobs. This has a knock-on effect on suppliers, who can also create new jobs with higher value added and, as a result, better wages. Job creation is instrumental in reducing poverty in a country.

Good corporate governance of family businesses

For many family-run businesses, planning for succession is a critical challenge, and it is not unusual to find the boss still running the company after retirement, with his successors unable to agree on management structure. Good corporate governance, with a separation of operational, strategic and supervisory functions, contributes to the long-term success of family businesses. And as good corporate governance also reduces the lending risk for banks, businesses can borrow on more favourable terms. SECO therefore supports efforts to improve the framework conditions for good corporate management and to offer training to family businesses and
expand a network of local consultants.

Promoting better working conditions

Jobs need to meet certain minimum social standards if they are to ensure a safe and humane working environment. Better working conditions also help to increase productivity. SECO is therefore working alongside the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to ensure that international labour standards are being upheld.

Last modification 24.09.2020

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