Switchers Support National Partnerships: the fundamental coalitions implementing the Green Entrepreneurship programme locally

SwitchMed is collaborating with local partners that are successfully implementing the Green Entrepreneurship programme through specific partnerships. A look back at these essential entities that are establishing national green business ecosystems fostering access to entrepreneurship services and competences.

Published on Monday 22 February 2021· START-UPS AND ENTREPRENEURS

Since the beginning of Phase II of SwitchMed (December 2019) and in spite of the COVID-19 implications over the past year, the Green Entrepreneurship programme is progressing well and reporting good numbers. This was achieved mainly thanks to the Switchers Support National Partnerships (SSNPs) that are carrying out the activities at the national level.

In recognition of the urgency of the 2030 Agenda, the Decade of Action calls on local and people action to accelerate the transition to sustainability, a duty no organization can bear alone.

SwitchMed worked hard in these last 8 years to build a partnership-enabling ecosystem, engaging and networking public and private stakeholders and laying the ground for local and cross-border partnerships to better deliver sustainability in the Mediterranean region.

The Regional Activity Centre for Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP/RAC) reaped the benefits of this work, raising awareness on the importance of building a “business ecosystem approach” to accelerate the transition to green and circular economy, providing a holistic and safe journey to eco-innovators and entrepreneurs.

In line with the UN Sustainable Development 17 (SDG 17) “Revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development” and building on the 2030 Agenda Partnership Accelerator, leaded by UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), SCP/RAC facilitates needed organizational support to build the SSNPs, non-institutional networks bringing together public and private stakeholders, the Business Support Organizations (BSOs), to discuss common challenges.
The idea behind the SSNPs is to improve the capacity of national systems to support new and existing green businesses to effectively contribute to sustainable development.

SSNPs are promoted and coordinated by selected SwitchMed’s local partners, in charge of implementing the Green Entrepreneurship programme at national level, as follows:

· Algeria: Centre National des Technologies de Production plus Propre (CNTPP)
· Israel: Entrepreneurship Center – Tel Aviv University (TAU)
· Jordan: Business Development Center (BDC)
· Lebanon: Fondation Diane
· Morocco: Centre des Très Petites Entreprises Solidaires (CTPES)
· Palestine: Birzeit University – Center for Continuing Education (CCE)
· Tunisia: Centre International des Technologies de l’Environnement de Tunis (CITET)

The creation of the SSNPs has been successfully concluded in five of these countries, gathering a total of 69 BSOs: 14 in Jordan, 14 in Lebanon, 18 in Morocco, 8 in Palestine and 15 in Tunisia. In the three other countries (Algeria, Egypt and Israel), the activity has suffered delays due to domestic reasons, but it is slowly starting. The BSOs that are members of the 5 different SSNPs were identified through regional and national scaling up roadmaps, the lists of actors from the national synergy workshops, as well as the Local Partners´ networks.

These five SSNPs have been supported to establish a national network of expert trainers and mentors, certified by the United Nations Environment Programme Mediterranean Action Plan (UNEP/MAP) and SCP/RAC. They have carried out the implementation of the Trainings of Trainers (ToTs). 138 participants (51% of women) were identified by the BSOs and trained through an 11-day programme aiming at transferring capacities, methodologies and tools to them as well as making them able to replicate those trainings. Out of the 138 local trainers who attended the ToTs, 103 (80%) have been certified according to SwitchMed methodology for Green Business Model and Plan development. The assessment of the ToTs by participants has been particularly positive since 90% of them rated it as good to very good and 99% expressed their intention to include the methodologies into their own training programmes.

Throughout these activities, SSNPs have proven to be pillars of the Green Entrepreneurship programme. They will ensure the implementation of its next steps, including the training of green entrepreneurs and the dissemination of the upcoming online platform for sustainable business development.

In Lebanon, the partners have signed a declaration of commitment, jointly chosen a name for the SSNP (EcoSwitch Coalition) and launched a facebook page to communicate about the activities of the partnership. The formalisation of the partnerships through a declaration of principles or similar documents is ongoing in the majority of the rest of the countries.