ICC-ESCWA Centre of Entrepreneurship
Welcome to the ICC Centre of Entrepreneurship!
What is the mission of the ICC Centre of Entrepreneurship?
Our mission is to globalise and democratise entrepreneurship, creating the largest interconnected business-led entrepreneurial ecosystem with the objective of fighting poverty, inequalities and promoting SME growth. From developing the skills of young people who face uncertain employment prospects to supporting SMEs and start-ups to scale-up, the ICC Centre of Entrepreneurship leaves no one behind: entrepreneurs and future entrepreneurs, young people looking to become entrepreneurs, small businesses, start-ups, social entrepreneurs and workers looking for reskilling. Our purpose is to enable people with opportunities to build meaningful livelihoods.
The ICC Centres of Entrepreneurship are set up in 4 continents – Africa, Latin America, Asia and Europe – and draw upon the business tools developed by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and our global partners, including the United National Economic Commissions for Africa, and Western Asia. The Centres harnesses ICC’s network of national committees and chambers of commerce in over 100 countries to run capacity building programmes, trainings and community workshops to address the challenges facing entrepreneurs and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). By bringing together thought leaders, businesses, and entrepreneurs, the Centres will establish a community of innovative professionals aimed at challenging convention and transforming the future of business.
What are the objectives of the ICC Centre of Entrepreneurship?
1. Inspire future entrepreneurs
- We aspire for everyone—especially young people—to have the opportunity to become entrepreneurs. For this to happen, we need to provide them with the skills of the future.
- The ICC Centre of Entrepreneurship makes available programmes to equip people with the skills they need to become entrepreneurs and to succeed in an ever-changing world.
- Educators, employers, and researchers recognise that people need skills and competencies beyond academic knowledge, like digital and soft skills, to succeed in the future.
- The ICC Centre of Entrepreneurship provides people with accreditation to become entrepreneurs and build their careers.
2. Digitising small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
- SMEs represent around 90% of all global businesses, yet many are still without the necessary tools and resources to participate in the digital economy. As part of ICC’s global campaign to digitise 5 million SMEs in Africa, the programmes offered by the ICC Centre of Entrepreneurship provide SME leaders with the tools to digitise their operations and access new markets.
- The ICC Centre of Entrepreneurship works with government and multilateral organisations to advocate for the removal of barriers that prevent SMEs from succeeding both locally and abroad. The Centre will improve the business environment in developing markets and strengthen the capacity of SME leaders to face persisting challenges.
- Backed by ICC’s global network of chambers of commerce, the Centre of Entrepreneurship provides SMEs with capacity-building programmes to address: (i) connectivity, (ii) market access, and (iii) digital transformation. The ICC Centre of Entrepreneurship also host talks and seminars that will facilitate SMEs leaders to exchange experience and knowledge.
3. Scaling up start-ups
- The ICC Centre of Entrepreneurship works to enhance local start-up ecosystems by providing entrepreneurs with specialised training, mentoring and support services. These services will help entrepreneurs establish, fund, manage and expand their start-ups.
- The ICC Centre of Entrepreneurship’s ultimate goal is to promote upskilling by providing start-ups with the tools and resources to gain access to global markets. The ICC Centre of Entrepreneurship will raise awareness about the potential opportunities for start-ups locally and abroad.
4. Fostering inclusive entrepreneurship
- Entrepreneurship provides social and economic opportunities for people everywhere by creating jobs in local communities. However, regulatory and cultural barriers prevent many people from becoming entrepreneurs, especially those with limited credit histories, young people, women, ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQ+ community.
- The ICC Centre of Entrepreneurship leverages strategic partnerships to empower individuals and mobilise public-private solutions to overcome longstanding deterrents to entrepreneurship.
- The practical tools, services and trainings offered by the ICC Centre of Entrepreneurship complement ICC’s standard-setting reputation by and support the creation of businesses with social and economic benefits for all of society.
Where is the ICC Centre of Entrepreneurship located?
The ICC Centre of Entrepreneurship comprises regional hubs with locations around the world to deliver tailored support to local entrepreneurs, small businesses, and start-ups.
The first Centre of Entrepreneurship was established in Istanbul, Turkey to provide support to Central Asia and the Caucasus region.
The ICC-ESCWA Centre of Entrepreneurship opened its doors in Beirut, Lebanon to provide support to the Arab region.
The ICC-ECA Centre of Entrepreneurship launched a continental partnership for Africa with hubs being launched in Eastern Africa (Nairobi, Kenya), Western Africa (Accra, Ghana and Lagos, Nigeria) and Northern Africa (Casablanca, Morocco).
The first Centre of Entrepreneurship for the Asia Pacific region has been launched in Jakarta, Indonesia.
A dedicated ICC Centre of Entrepreneurship for Ukraine was launched to strengthen the resilience of Ukrainian SMEs and support refugees, in response to Russia’s invasion of the country.
An ICC Centre of Entrepreneurship in Seville was launched in Seville support and mobilize the next generation of entrepreneurs in Southern Europe.
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Preparing the next generation of entrepreneurs in the Arab region
The ICC-ESCWA Centre of Entrepreneurship hosted the first online Regional Economic Forum in December 2021. The event brought together a line-up of international development experts, SME representatives, policymakers, corporate leaders and chambers of commerce, crowding in the knowledge and know-how for SMEs to thrive and succeed.
Regional Economic Forum Day 1
Regional Economic Forum Day 2
Strengthen the capacity of government entities in providing quality and timely services to SMEs
Strengthen the capacity of SMEs to deal with key challenges and raise their awareness of potential opportunities
Connect local entrepreneurs to global markets and provide expertise to early-stage startups
Help Arab entrepreneurs to network and exchange experiences and knowledge
Provide entrepreneurs with specialized training, mentoring and support services to help them establish, fund, manage and expand their enterprises
Inspiring future entrepreneurs
We aspire for everyone in the Arab region, especially women and young people, to have the opportunity to become entrepreneurs. For this to happen, we need to hone existing skills and nurture future skills.
The Centre will provide programmes to equip learners with the skills needed to become entrepreneurs and succeed in an ever-changing world. Shaping and delivering the future of learning is also a way to share the future of work, trade, and the world economy.
The Centre aims to build the capacity of SME leaders in Arab countries to digitize their business, by providing tools and training programmes that will ultimately help them access new customers and ensure accelerated access to finance.
The Centre will also work with Governments and multilateral organizations to advocate for the removal of barriers that prevent SMEs from succeeding at the national and regional levels, thus improving the business environment in developing markets, and strengthening SME capacity to deal with critical challenges.
Scaling up startups
The Centre will work to enhance the local startup ecosystems in the Arab region by providing entrepreneurs with specialized training, mentoring and support services to establish, fund, manage and expand their startups. The Centre’s ultimate goal is to help startups scale up from the Arab region to global markets.
The Centre's activities also include services that enable open innovation businesses to be more efficient and integrated at the global level. The Centre will also raise awareness of potential opportunities for Arab startups.