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D+C  e-Paper  August 2016 39 Among other things, we support related efforts in the context of, the programme with which the German Fed­ eral Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) supports innova­ tive development partnerships with pri­ vate-sector companies in emerging mar­ kets and developing countries. A lot of the funding is used for training and education purposes. Skills training is a huge chal­ lenge and rather expensive, so many SME managers hesitate to tackle it in emerging markets and developing countries. How does work? The target group are German and Euro­ pean companies that are interested in sustainable, long-term investments in developing countries and emerging mar­ kets. The BMZ provides funding worth up to € 200,000 per project, though not more than 50 % of a project’s total costs at most. Companies can submit proposals in competitions four times a year. Projects go on for up to three years, and they con­ cern all sorts of sectors and issues. Think of a pilot project, or measures to improve environmental performance or boost skills, for example. What matters is the developmental relevance of the proposals. For many SMEs, it is actually quite a chal­ lenge to cover 50 % of the costs because that is a lot of money. But if they are seri­ ous about a project, they will be willing to pay a price. Their own contribution is an indispensable indication of assuming responsibility. And what else are you doing apart from We are part of an international initiative called “Let’s Work”. It aims to bring about long-term employment in fair conditions. Last year, for example, we did research on skills gaps. The difference between what companies need and what potential employees are capable of all too often blocks social and economic development. Our report “Bridging the skills gaps in developing countries” assesses a number of companies and shows how they dealt with issues in targeted action concerning workers, the supply chain and local com­ munities (see D+C/E+Z e-Paper 2016/03, p. 6). The publication includes a checklist, so it can help companies to assess their own needs and requirements. Does DEG support only German com- panies or also Brazilian companies? Our mission is to support private-sector investments that serve developmental goals in emerging markets and develop­ ing countries, and that includes Brazilian companies. We’d also support Chinese companies in Brazil if they meet our standards – or Brazilian ones in Mozam­ bique, for example. Our job is to support small and medium-sized companies that would not be able to make good ideas come true due to lack of long-term financ­ ing. DEG either becomes their share­ holder or supports them with long-term loans. Moreover, we cooperate with banks and investment funds in emerging mar­ kets and developing countries. We lend them money and help them to improve their risk management, so they become able to serve our SME target group in the best possible way. Our vision is the development of a strong and capable SME sector as we have in Germany. In Germany, 90 % of all com­ panies are SMEs, and SMEs are similarly important pillars of the economies of many developing countries. Links DEG: Study: Bridging the skills gaps in developing countries. About-DEG/What-is-our-impact/Bridging-Skills-Gaps_DEG_2016. pdf Let’s Work Partnership: Bruno Wenn is chairman of the Management Board of DEG – Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsge- sellschaft, which is a subsidiary of Germany’s KfW Banking Group and supports private-sector development in developing countries. Training at Bosch in Campinas, Brazil. dw Tribune