Developing a strong and sustainable private sector

Last checked on:
3 May 2024
Published on:
16 October 2023

A strong small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector is essential for sustainable economic growth. SMEs create jobs and combat poverty and inequality. That is why we work with other countries to develop their private sectors. Would you like to use your knowledge or expertise to help local organisations and businesses? And by doing so, contribute to strong and sustainable private sectors abroad? Learn more about how we can support you.

Group of laughing mine workers in labour attire

What is private sector development?

A strong SME sector contributes to Sustainable Development Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth. Companies also have an essential role in economic and social transitions. This includes transitions to food security, sustainability, renewable energy, climate resilience, and water security. With this in mind, the Netherlands supports private sector development (PSD) worldwide. PSD focuses on local SMEs, the business environment and fair value chains. For this, we cooperate closely with companies and organisations from the Netherlands and abroad.

Together, we help local SMEs grow sustainably

PSD is essential for SMEs to grow sustainably. Through knowledge sharing, funding and innovations, we strengthen local initiatives. Through PSD programmes, we connect partners, projects and policy goals. Those projects also address important topics like climate change, 'greening', gender equality, opportunities for young people, and digitalisation. Our approach helps SMEs benefit economically and become more sustainable and inclusive.

What does the Netherlands Enterprise Agency do?

The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) supports projects and collaborations that help create:

  • A more stable business environment and solid entrepreneurship;
  • More sustainable value chains;
  • Better employment opportunities, especially for young people;
  • Business process innovation (digitalisation);
  • Sustainable trade and investment by Dutch companies in international markets; and
  • Opportunities for companies to export to Europe and other regions.

Long-term impact

RVO works on private sector development by coordinating its approach with different PSD programmes in a country or sector. We always take the local system into account. Our integrated approach combines themes, practices, activities and funding. This is how we generate long-term sustainable impact, flexibly and efficiently.

Our PSD programmes

The following programmes form the basis of our approach:

The PSD Toolkit helps embassies with their PSD programming. 

Responsible business conduct (RBC) and local needs and expertise are the main principles in all our programmes.

Countries and themes

The interactive PDF download below gives you more detailed information about the main themes we work on in each PSD country. Together, we can make a more significant impact on these themes. The Netherlands embassy in the country where you are active or want to become active is happy to explore your plans with you.

World map showing the PSD countries

For more background information on our projects, visit our project database.

How can we support you?

Are you an entrepreneur, or do you work for an NGO or knowledge institute? And do you want to improve private sector development in one of the countries you are active in?

Studies and lessons learnt

For sector studies and lessons learnt, see our:

Private sector development projects in practice

Watch our video about a project in India that generates a steady income for small-scale farmers.

Commissioned by:
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs
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