Vibrant businesses, better lives

PUM aims to contribute to sustainable economic development by enabling Dutch senior experts to transfer knowledge to small and medium enterprises in developing and emerging economies, thereby improving their performance. Founded in 1978 by the Dutch Employers’ Federation VNO-NCW in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, PUM is a key pillar of Dutch support to small and medium enterprises in developing and emerging economies and a crucial vehicle to share Dutch expertise with those that otherwise lack access to knowledge.

PUM wants to achieve this aim by linking Dutch senior experts to SMEs in developing countries to stimulate knowledge transfer, help SMEs to apply for grants and promote business links with Dutch companies. With increased knowledge levels, new business links and access to grants, SMEs are expected to improve their business practices. That, in turn, should lead to higher turnover and profit, better employment, increased sustainability and more business with Dutch companies. Each of these outcomes is expected to contribute to sustainable and inclusive economic growth. Our vision and mission demand that we organise our work around a focused set of crosscutting priorities, which hold for all of our activities: advancing the Sustainable Development Goals, ensuring Diversity and promoting CSR. This implies that in our knowledge-sharing work, we focus on supporting SMEs to make a positive impact on food security, women and youth, and climate change.

Strategic plan 2017-2020 and the changing context in 2017

In the Strategic Plan 2017 – 2020, PUM positioned its activities within the changing context of international development and the shifting priorities of official Dutch development policy in 2016. Choices made in the strategic plan remained valid in the context of new international developments and the new Dutch government’s policy in 2017.

Strategic plan

Key elements in the strategic plan of PUM 2017 – 2020, continue to be relevant in this new context, PUM intends to:

  • Forge partnerships with diverse stakeholders to create synergies in the implementation of programmes directed at promoting SMEs and an enabling environment;
  • Strengthen PUM’s impact on key priorities of Dutch development policy (including working towards food security, promoting gender equality, and combating youth unemployment);
  • Aim for a more diverse composition of its pool of knowledgeable volunteers, including female experts, diaspora and youth professionals; and
  • Diversify its funding base towards 25% non-DGIS-DDE funding

With its approval of PUMs subsidy proposal, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs requested PUM to focus on a compact portfolio of countries and sectors, with specific attention to the needs of the Least Developed Countries and to a programmatic approach.

Changing context

The global agenda for sustainable development, with 17 Sustainable Development Goals continues to offer a framework for international action to address worldwide challenges by governments, private sector and civil society organisations. PUM as a private sector development organisation contributes particularly, in a modest way, to SDG 8: decent employment and economic growth. The economic situation in the world, especially in the Netherlands has improved in 2017, with changing patterns of trade, investment and production in global value chains, and with more financial space for development cooperation. Digital platforms, new technologies, smartphones, the data economy and new financing modalities play a significant role. SME’s, the clients of PUM and biggest generator of employment, need to adapt their business models continuously. Big achievements have been made in poverty reduction. In some African countries growth continues, but inequality increases as well. Effects of climate change, loss of biodiversity have become more apparent, especially in the poorest countries. International conflicts and instability are on the rise, creating more migration. Progress for women, including female entrepreneurs is slow. The new Dutch government that assumed power last October has announced some changes in its development and trade policy.

Focus is on conflict prevention, poverty reduction, sustainable development and a strengthened position for Dutch business. Key themes continue to be food security, water management, climate change and reproductive rights. There is more attention for employment and education, specific attention for refugees and countries in the Northern part of Africa and the Middle East. Youth and women receive special attention. The government continues to strive for the establishment of ICSR covenants between private sector, government and civil society organisations. PUM has addressed these topics in an additional funding request, resulting in the topping up of our core subsidy with 4,7 million Euros for new initiatives.

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