ICC-ESCWA Centre of Entrepreneurship






Welcome to our Centre!

The ICC-ESCWA Centre of Entrepreneurship is an initiative co-led by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) to prepare and mobilize the next generation of entrepreneurs in the Arab region, including by developing the skills of young people who face uncertain employment prospects, and helping catalyse local entrepreneurship and the jobs of the future.

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Our main goal is to enable individual citizens to build meaningful livelihoods in a functioning market economy.

The Centre will further serve as a platform to globally showcase the most successful local and regional entrepreneurial initiatives promoted by chambers of commerce and innovative partners.

The Centre will leverage digital connectivity to pair entrepreneurs with experts from the United Nations and the ICC global network to provide virtual mentoring and coaching. It will also draw upon the strength of chambers of commerce in over 100 countries, the ICC Knowledge Solutions Department, and ESCWA’s knowledge hubs.

The Centre plans to host a series of talks for entrepreneurs, chambers of commerce, businesses, banks, and Governments to address structural challenges facing emerging and developing markets. By bringing together leaders, businesses and entrepreneurs, the Centre will establish a community of innovative professionals to challenge convention and transform the future of business.

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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.

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Regional Economic Forum Day 1

Regional Economic Forum Day 2

Our objectives

  • 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.

Digitizing SMEs

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.

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