INCEP-SME: INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR THE PROMOTION OF SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES

In 1998, NISPED established the International Center for the Promotion of SMEs (INCEP-SME). The center runs education and training programs for the promotion and development of SMEs and entrepreneurship. It also initiates and manages projects and offers consulting services.

The SMEs community has, in recent years, witnessed with satisfaction a worldwide growing awareness of the importance of SMEs to both the national and the global economy. We have reached the point when governments recognize that SMEs are engines of growth and of job creation, that they are vibrant and innovative, quick to respond, flexible and can adapt to changing circumstances. It is quit clear to day, that as a result of all these virtues, SMEs have become a central force in the economy and the society. SMEs are also important for the development and acceleration of change in economies in transition – such as those in which agricultural predominance is giving way to industry and services, or those moving from a centralized to free market economy. SMEs also serve as important vehicles in facilitating people-to-people conflict resolution through direct interaction between important sectors of society, thus creating growing mutual trust.

Israel is an apt location for such a center as it has experienced two major economic processes: the shift from a basically centralized economy to an open, free market, as well as the development of alternative sources of income as an answer to the needs of agricultural communities. Both, together wit the remarkable development of High-tech based start-ups, paved the way to the establishment of a modern, comprehensive and efficient support system for SMEs, incorporating the government as well as the private business sector.

INCEP-SME conducts workshops, seminars, courses and study tours for people and groups around the world concerned with and responsible for the advancement of SMEs and entrepreneurship. They include decision-makers, officials of central, regional and local governments, officials of banks and of development and financial institutions, leaders of national and regional support systems, leaders of SME associations, business consultants, trainers and SME entrepreneurs. Some of our programs are conducted regularly and some are tailor made to suit the needs of the organizations concerned.

INCEP-SME aims to share experiences and ideas so as to aid each country in determining the appropriate pattern of structuring its support system for SMEs and entrepreneurship.

Since its inception, INCEP-SME conducted more than 20 training programs in English, Arabic, Russian and Portuguese on various subjects related to SME promotion.

An agreement for a permanent, institutionalized connection was signed with the World Association for Small & Medium Enterprises (WASME). As a result of this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), several joint international courses have already been conducted.

InCeP-SME is also recognized as a training center by MASHAV, the Center for International Cooperation, Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and by ISMEA (Israel Small and Medium Enterprise Authority).

Some of the subjects of training programs conducted on a yearly basis are:

Comprehensive and Integrative Public Support Systems for SMEs – A central Factor of Development Policy

The Promotion of Small and Medium High-Tech enterprises and R&D Based Start-Ups

SMEs in the era of Globalization (preparing SMEs for Export and International Trade)

 Comprehensive Training for Development: Linking Vocational and Entrepreneurial Education