Was change realized?

Our annual plan 2018 started with the promising introductory title: Change makers.

This was meant in two ways. Engaged, trustworthy and knowledgeable PUM experts, many of them entrepreneurs, are highly appreciated change makers we are proud of. They do bring about considerable positive change in knowledge and business performance through their voluntary contributions for numerous small and medium sized enterprises, as demonstrated in our annual PRIME survey of PUM clients. They did so again in over thirty developing economies for 1000+ businesses around the globe in 2018.

‘Change Makers” also has another meaning. In 2017, we underwent a mayor organizational change, which we expected to be fully implemented in 2018, with the aim of achieving more impact in and with SMEs. We realized however, through an evaluation implemented by the Royal Tropical Institute early 2018, that there is still considerable work to be done to make the change fully effective. Focus on a reduced number of countries and sectors, and the introduction of a programmatic approach put a strain on ongoing business (shortfall of 25%) and depletion in 2018. However, in 2018, the year of our 40th anniversary and the second year of our 2017 – 2021 strategy, we did manage to lay a strong foundation for promising impact in the years to come.


The analysis of global developments including actions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, as highlighted in our strategic plan, were still valid throughout 2018. In June, The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs published its new policy: “Investment in Perspective”. This policy confirmed that we are on the right track with choices made. The main change for PUM is a geographical shift of focus to The Sahel, North Africa, the Horn and The Middle East. For PUM this means that we will consider some changes in our country portfolio from 2019 onwards.


PUM’s strategic plan 2017 – 2021 remained relevant in 2018. Our aim was and remains to:

  • Strengthen PUM’s impact through a programmatic approach;
  • Address issues vital for SME development like food security, women & youth entrepreneurship and corporate social responsibility;
  • Forge collaboration with like-minded partners, including Dutch companies;
  • Promote diversity of volunteer experts, including more female and young experts.
  • Achieve 25% of funding mobilized from other sources than from The Netherlands Ministry ofForeign Affairs.
  • Focus on a compact portfolio of sectors and countries, 50% of which are LDCs and/orfragile states.

40th Anniversary

In our 40th anniversary celebrations we focused on the promising future of PUM.

We organized a well-attended conference about youth employment for our partners in The Netherlands in March, a seminar with 800 of our experts about multiple sectors in September, and published a storybook illustrating the results achieved by our experts with SMEs during the past years.

Approval of additional subsidy by the Ministry of 4,7 million Euros until end 2020 for our proposal: “Towards More, Better and Greener jobs” came as exciting news during celebrations. In 2018, we invested substantially in the development of a programmatic approach, and the embedding of until today 5% of our advisory assignments in programs, implemented in partnership with other organizations and companies.


In 2018, we exceeded our planned assignments for businesses in food quality, quantity and stability. In total, 44% of our assignments contributed to companies working in food security. We also exceeded our planned knowledge sharing in the Services-sectors with 3%, reflecting the global growth and importance of these sectors for (youth) employment and entrepreneurship. PUM assignments in tourism, incubators for start-up companies, vocational education and IT were in total 24% instead of 21% of our activities. With 11%, we nearly achieved the substantial growth target of 12% we set for the theme health & environment, which includes water, waste management and renewable energy. We lagged behind on the target set for industry, construction & trade, but with a rejuvenated team of sector coordinators keen to introduce innovations we expect to catch up.

We are happy to have exceeded the intended growth of our activities in Africa (47%), where many of the LDCs in which we operate are located. This growth was offset by a reduction of our activities in Latin America, Europe and unfortunately, partly due to instability, also in the Middle East, where our intention is to substantially increase PUM activities in 2019. Assignments in Asia also increased slightly, especially in LDCs Bangladesh and Nepal.

The 5 global propositions we referred to in our annual plan 2018, namely Trade promotion with Dutch companies, Young professionals, Access to finance, Incubators and Food security are now fully integrated in our practice, and for that reason are not reported on separately any more.

Sustainable Development Goals

The Sustainable Development Goals are a call for action by many stakeholders worldwide, including private companies, to promote prosperity while protecting the planet. Together we recognize that ending poverty must go together with strategies that build economic growth and address a range of social needs including education, health, social protection, and job opportunities, while tackling climate change and environmental protection. In 2018, PUM contributed to achieving these Goals in a very practical way, by sharing knowledge with Small-and Medium Sized Enterprises in developing countries. Focus of PUM is on Sustainable Development Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Development for all in 2030. We have joined forces with Dutch partner organisations in a Private Sector Development platform, chaired by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In a common “Theory of Change” we have specified the contribution that each organisation, including PUM, makes to achieve this Goal in 2030. In this way we jointly make explicit how The Netherlands makes a difference in the world with Private Sector Development, and we contribute to measuring development impact. We also contributed to Sustainable Development Goal 5: achieving gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls. We have set targets for 2019, 2020 and 2021, and are developing a range of measures to enhance diversity and inclusiveness, to both improve the composition and participation of our expert pool, and to increase the number of young and female entrepreneurs, (co) owners of Small en Medium Sized Enterprises with whom our experts share their knowledge.

Dick Ernste, CEO

Andy Wehkamp, director

Hans Luursema, director


In 2018 we…

•   supported 1074 Small and Medium Sized Enterprises and 213 Business Support Organisations and Incubators (companies that assist start-ups) through a total of 1505 support activities.
•   provided our services in a total of 38 countries worldwide of which roughly a third concerns Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
•   gave practical effect to The Netherlands’ Aid & Trade agenda by organizing 54 business links in collaboration with the Dutch private sector.
•   succeeded in reaching hundreds of female and young entrepreneurs with our assistance.
•   prolonged our involvement in PRIME (PRIME stands for Pioneering Real‐time Impact Monitoring and Evaluation and is a research partnership between Wageningen Economic Research) which allows PUM to monitor and
evaluate the impact of our activities.
•   continued to contribute to positive changes in the business practices and of the sales, profits, and employment of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises.
•   celebrated our 40th anniversary with various activities throughout the year, with the Youth Employment conference in March and the celebration conference in September as key highlights.
•   further rolled out the Strategic Plan 2017-2021 and advanced the implementation of our strategic transition initiated in 2017.
•   benefitted from a pool of 1916 experienced experts, 92 volunteer staff and 170 local representatives worldwide.
•  initiated a number of HR actions to improve the work-related health and wellbeing of staff.
•  strengthened our programmatic approach, including on key cross-cutting issues such as food security, youth employment & entrepreneurship and .      international corporate social responsibility.
•  hired a new Chief Executive Officer in the person of Dick Ernste.

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