Clusters and business linkages

In developing countries the private sector mainly consists of micro, small and medium enterprises that generate a large share of employment and income opportunities. Often, however, their development potential remains untapped, as firms operate in isolation, are locked into uncompetitive production patterns and unable to approach dynamic business partners that could bring in new expertise and know how.

UNIDO aims to boost the development of a competitive private sector and contribute to poverty reduction by building sustainable linkages between small-size enterprises, their larger scale business partners and support institutions.

Linkages enhance enterprise competitiveness through the realization of economies of scale and scope and are a source of sustainability, as they increase the capacity of the economic actors to collectively react to crisis and turning points. Linkages also pave the way for broad-based and inclusive development, where poor entrepreneurs and workers participate in economic activities on fair terms.


  • Promote business to business linkages as well as between firms and institutions
  • Foster the implementation of socially environmentally responsible business practices
  • Develop public private partnerships
  • Formulate and disseminate tools and methodologies to implement projects.

Areas of focus

Automotive supplier development

The automotive industry is an industry of strategic importance to numerous countries, with many developing and emerging country players competing for growth markets and the generation of new business and employment opportunities.

Business partnerships

UNIDO draws on the expertise, know-how and resources of major business players, utilizing their experience to enable SMEs to become competitive players.

Clusters and network development

Clusters and business networks have become keywords in the policy debate in industrialized and developing countries. They are regarded as tools to promote poverty reduction and the development of competitive industries.

Industrial export promotion and SME consortia

In the age of globalization, gaining access to export markets is particularly important for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). In developing countries and countries with economies in transition this access is crucial for growth and increased productivity…

Origin consortia

As a reaction to the rapid changes brought about by globalization, more and more consumers are searching for what is authentic; they are also willing to pay higher prices for traditional products that retain the quality of the past and that are deeply rooted in the popular cultures of their territories of origin.