The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)

Harnessing the power of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises

Recognizing their important role in building sustainable economies, a new online course is helping micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) tap into UNOPS procurement opportunities.

Last year, UNOPS procured almost $1.1 billion worth of goods and services. Within this, more than 80 per cent of tenders were awarded to approximately 1,500 different MSMEs.  

Contributing between 50–70 per cent of a country’s gross domestic product, MSMEs are the backbone of economies and make significant contributions to sustainable development. The economic fallout during the COVID-19 pandemic has left these businesses hard hit, including those owned by women and young entrepreneurs.

“Our suppliers – big and small – play a vital role in our efforts to build better lives and countries achieve peace and sustainable development,” said UNOPS Director of Implementation Practices and Standards, Nick O'Regan.

As the engines of economic growth, we must unlock the full potential of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.

Nick O'Regan - UNOPS Director of Implementation Practices and Standards
‘Doing business with UNOPS’

The online course ‘Doing Business with UNOPS’ was developed with the aim of improving the knowledge of current and potential suppliers on how to do business with UNOPS, including our expectations on ethics and sustainability. The course is expected to enhance procurement outcomes by fostering competition, transparency and value for money. 

The free course is available in English, French and Spanish. 

To date, more than 400 vendors have completed the pilot course – a vast majority of which were MSMEs from developing countries including Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Somalia and Yemen. 

“The course gave me insights into UNOPS objectives, mission and values along with the practicability of how to be a better vendor to meet goals set by UNOPS,” said one participant after completing the pilot course. 

Around 700 additional vendors have registered or are in the process of completing the course. At least 10 per cent of course participants identify as women-owned businesses and UNOPS is constantly working to encourage the participation of these enterprises in UNOPS procurement processes.

‘Doing business with UNOPS’ is just one of several UNOPS initiatives that aims to improve supplier capacity. The UNOPS Possibilities Programme focuses on enhancing supplier diversity by enabling MSMEs as well as local, women and youth-owned enterprises to build their capacity as successful entrepreneurs. 

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