In the short span of its existence, this International Organization based in the Republic of San Marino reached outstanding results (such as achieve the Special Consultative Status as NGO with the UNITED NATIONS ECOSOC) built and consolidated a wide and qualified network of international relationships in more than 60 countries, carried out significant actions in favor of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and Crafts and entered into important cooperation agreements and partnerships.
Here follows an abstract to briefly present some of the main actions and activities held and accomplished from the constitution until the present date.
YEAR 2010 sets the birth of WUSME, founded in April under the auspices of the Republic of San Marino with anINTERNATIONAL SMEs CONFERENCE and GENERAL MEETING which counted on the participation of delegates from 53 countries representing Governments, Institutions, SME supportive organizations and individual enterprises.
WUSME is a NON-PROFIT INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION committed to support SMEs and CRAFTs worldwide and represent a link between private and public institutions in order to advocate SMEs concerns and fulfil their needs.
WUSME’s mission is to represent, support and protect the rights and interests of SMEs and the Crafts worldwide, in their relations with all members of the production and government system at regional, national and international level, through the promotion and development of economic, financial, social, environmental and cultural cooperation and business alliances which shall raise the competitiveness level of SMEs and Craft in the global market, all this with special attention to the reality of countries with less developed economies and women entrepreneurship.
A few months after its foundation, WUSME put in place its first initiatives and collaborations to give immediate substance to its plans. Particularly concerned and active in the promotion of policies and actions in favor of micro-financing, the Union held, on October 14thin the REPUBLIC OF SAN MARINO, an INTERNATIONAL WORKSHOP entitled “SOCIAL CURRENCY TRANSACTION LEVY: A NEW FINANCIAL INSTRUMENT FOR CRISIS PREVENTION AND SMEs DEVELOPMENT“. WUSME Secretary General, Dr. Norbert W. Knoll-Dorhnoff, Professor of Economics and Fiscal Policy atIUE (the International University of Entrepreneurship USA), was pleased to introduce this innovative financial tool, whose opportunities and operating procedures were later illustrated by Mr Alastaire Constance, founder and CEO of Ethical Currency Ltd., a London broker specializing in currency transactions.
YEAR 2011 opened with a MISSION IN GABON, which led subsequently to the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of SMEs of Gabon to promote the development of SMEs in their respective countries and launch a major partnership project on computer assembly and marketing. WUSME delegation visited Gabon from January 31 to February 4, 2011 to participate in the General States of SMEs, upon direct invitation of the President, and to better understand the reality of this African country and hold meetings with the highest ranking institutions, such as the Prime Minister Paul Biyoghe MBA, the Minister for SMEs Jean Felix Moulongui, Ministers for Agriculture Raymond Sima Ndong and for Habitat Blaise Habitat Ndong, the Vice President of the National Assembly Daniel Ona Ondo, all of whom greatly appreciated the competence and mission of WUSME and explicitly asked to start a collaboration in terms of projects, training and recommendations. Intervening in the GABON General States of SMEs, WUSME President Gian Franco Terenzi had the opportunity to introduce a special project conceived for Gabon, to be extended to the whole area of Central Africa, taking into account the specific needs and problems of these countries with regard to small businesses and to the fields of interest of the national economy. Great attention arouse the speech of the Secretary-General Norbert w. Knoll-Dornhoff, centered on “the Millennium WUSME Regions in Gabon – WMR”, a proposal aiming at creating, in the Millennium Villages, a favorable environment for the development of specific micro-small and medium-sized enterprises and handicrafts. Since then, WUSME is active in Gabon, through a Permanent Representative and Member of the Board Mr. Akram Mendame, to promote and cooperate in many projects that may affect economic and social development of SMEs in this African country.
Later in October 2011, with the presence of a qualified international delegation, WUSME participated, as Partner of the European Union, in the 8TH EDITION OF THE EDE-EUROPEAN DAY OF THE ENTREPRENEUR 2011″, an initiative promoted every year to raise awareness in the community on the theme of entrepreneurship and held, on this occasion, with the high patronage of the President of the Republic of Croatia. In their interventions, WUSME Delegates urged Governments of all Nations to adopt effective measures to protect the micro, small and medium-sized enterprises from the effects of the economic crisis. WUSME President Gian Franco Terenzi stressed out the importance of defining and implementing micro-financing specific solutions for small business, crafts and agriculture-food sector especially in less developed economies.
On the sidelines of the activities organized for EDE 2011, WUSME held its INTERNATIONAL WORKSHOP – PANEL DISCUSSION entitled “A NEW FINANCIAL ARCHITECTURE FOR THE PREVENTION OF CRISES AND FOR A BETTER QUALITY OF LIFE: THE ROLE OF SMES AND THE CRAFT SECTOR AND GOOD PRACTICES FROM AFRICA”. The meeting lead to the identification of business areas where African countries and other less privileged economies are in need for help and where the Union will address its support, encouraging technology and know-how transfer from countries WUSME members to organizations and enterprises of Africa, SMEs cooperation, professional training in the creation and management of small enterprises and crafts, adoption of economic policies and institutional reforms in support of SMEs. WUSME’s role is also to assist the Government agencies for development and SMEs supportive organizations to achieve the Millennium development goals and facilitate doing business in less privileged economies.
Finally, 2011 was closed with the WUSME SMEs INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE and WORKSHOP held in BUDAPEST – HUNGARY. The International Conference was held on November 24th in the premises of the Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Budapest, where keynote speakers in representation of Governments, International organizations, SMEs supportive Organizations and Academic Institutions such as H.E. Jean-Félix Mouloungui, Minister of SMEs of the Republic of Gabon and H.E. Dr. András Aradszki Member of the Hungarian Parliament among others, intervened on the main theme: “THE DEVELOPMENT OF LOCAL SMES IN A GLOBALIZED WORLD, MORE SMES = MORE JOBS = BETTER QUALITY OF LIFE IN THE WORLD”. Sub-topics of the Conference referred to International Cooperation for SMEs Development, Women Entrepreneurs and Employment, A new framework for expanding sustainable energy and agribusiness, Better access for SMEs to information management and knowledge networks, UN Organizations in support of SMEs.
Held on November 25th 2011, the WUSME INTERNATIONAL WORKSHOP gathered delegates from all over the globe who showed special interest in the Workshop as a practical means of enhancing business of SMEs as well on national as on international level. Such face-to-face business meetings are part of WUSME’s initiatives offered to members and partners for enhancing their business network. WUSME plans to use its Internet Portal as an efficient tool to exchange business proposals, technologies and various forms of international cooperation through a new framework called “WUSME EXCHANGE”.
On occasion of a visit to the Hungarian Parliament, WUSME delegation was received by Vice President of the Parliament H.E. Jakab, who agreed to inform each other in the future about SMEs development issues, particularly in the area of agribusiness and agribusiness -technologies.
The WUSME Delegation also visited on 26th November 2011 Debrecen University and was received by its Rector Prof. Dr. Istvan Fabian. WUSME and IUE International University of Entreprenology (represented by its President Prof. Dr. James Omps) agreed to keep in close contact with the Debrecen University and endeavor to enter into a Cooperation Agreement in the next future.
In terms of INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITIONS, in 2011, WUSME began the procedure required to receive the SPECIAL CONSULTATIVE STATUS from the UNITED NATIONS ECOSOC-THE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL OF THE UNITED NATIONS, later recognized in 2013.
In YEAR 2012 some important actions were undertaken to strengthen WUSME’s relations with AFRICA.
GABON, UGANDA, ANGOLA, CAMEROON, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO AND MOROCCO are some of the African countries where WUSME worked to establish fruitful relations with Public Institutions and Private Sector Associations by means of missions, visits and meetings with Government high rank Officials, Representatives of Industry-Crafts-Commerce Associations and individual entrepreneurs to promote new business projects and transnational cooperation.
A significant result of the action carried out in the African continent is WUSME OFFICIAL RECOGNITION BY THE INSTITUTIONS OF THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO, which lead to the creation of a Permanent Representation and the birth of the WUSME FEDERATION DRC which is expected to affiliate 13,000 local enterprises.
In mid 2012, WUSME also received formal approval as Member of the UNITED NATIONS GLOBAL COMPACT, the world’s largest corporate citizenship with thousand of business participants and other stakeholders from civil society committed to aligning their operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption. By doing so, business, as a primary driver of globalization, can help ensure that markets, commerce, technology and finance advance in ways that benefit economies and societies everywhere.
This new position of NGO in Special Consultative Status and member of the network of relationships of the UN, gave further impetus to a SPECIAL PROGRAM WUSME conceived, designed and presented to the UNHCR – UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES UNITED for the repatriation and reintegration of the refugees of the Democratic Republic of Congo through the creation of a network of Institutes and programs for entrepreneurial and professional training.
In July, WUSME organized its 2012 ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL SMEs DAY in the Republic of San Marino, an international gathering which included the INTERNATIONAL SMEs CONFERENCE, GENERAL MEETING and WORKSHOP entitled “IGNITING INNOVATION BY SMEs and CRAFTs”. In times of growing economic austerity programs here in Europe and other countries, in order to defeat the pending debt crises, it is critical that we try to develop a growing number of SMEs and craft which are, as we all know, the most reliable engines for spurring economic growth. To accomplish this effectively, we need to ignite a wave of innovation that will see the creation of an array of new products, new high tech and low tech processes, new marketing techniques, new services and more effective business administration. On the occasion of the 2nd General Meeting of WUSME entrepreneurs and SMEs stakeholders from around the globe gathered to suggest and discuss recommendations that targeted the accomplishment of these worthwhile goals. ”The steadily growing number of small businesses that are being created around the world demonstrates that simple fact that this sector of every economy has what is needed to contribute to a cohesive and sustainable economic recovery, both in the industrialized countries and in those countries that are taking more time to develop their natural and human resources,” said WUSME’s President Gian Franco Terenzi.
The General Meeting unanimously concluded that WUSME is absolutely committed to:
• recognizing the critical role that SMEs and Crafts play in economic, social and cultural development both locally and globally;
• improving the environment in which businesses operate by simplifying – and eliminating where and when possible – bureaucratic confusion thereby maintaining the delicate balance needed to assure eventual success;
• encouraging young entrepreneurs to invest in learning and maintaining those skills historically taught and passed on through the artisan’s guilds not so long ago… learned crafts and skills still needed but likely to disappear for the lack of interest being displayed between generations;
• re-evaluating and enhancing the teaching/learning of the crafts and the manual professions, providing quality apprentice/master style training that can be applied both locally and internationally and rewarded financially;
• creating the conditions necessary to establish a collaborative relationship with both developed and developing countries;
With regard to less privileged and developing economies, WUSME is committed to:
• supporting and offering programs aimed toward creating the necessary drive to create a new business
• creating the conditions for small entrepreneurs to labor safely in a healthy environment while taking into account one’s social security
• promoting initiatives aimed at the training people in new professions and entrepreneurship
• establishing a network of cooperation with the most industrialized countries
”We need to focus on the reality of micro businesses, because when we refer to Small and Medium Enterprises, in reality, we refer mainly to Crafts and Micro Enterprises, which in most countries of the world account for more than 90% of all business activities”, reminded the WUSME President.
WUSME General Secretary Norbert W. Knoll von Dornhoff conveyed good news to the General Meeting with regards to the APPROVAL OF WUSME’S STATUS AS PARTICIPANT in the UNITED NATIONS GOBAL COMPACT, explaining that doors were now open to institutions and partners for cooperation and support to WUSME’s mission.
With regard to the application of WUSME for the SPECIAL CONSULTATIVE STATUS with the UN-ECOSOC, formal approval by the UN Committee in New York was obtained in mid of 2013, making WUSME, after a 2 years long step by step process and course of actions, the BEST INTERMEDIARY ORGANIZATION OF THE CIVIL SOCIETY IN SUPPORT OF SMEs WORLDWIDE IN THE UNITED NATIONS SYSTEM.
What accomplished in the DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO is taking place in GABON, UGANDA and CAMEROON, where WUSME is carrying out the procedure required for its FORMAL RECOGNITION in the country and is steadily present with a Permanent Representation.
In UGANDA, WUSME realized a successful double MISSION in March and September 2012 to better understand the reality of Ugandan SMEs and start profitable relationships with institutions and associations present in the country. On the occasion of the first visit in March, WUSME delegates took part in the proceedings of the “INTERNATIONAL DAY OF SMEs”.
On this occasion meetings occurred with the Vice President Edward Ssekandi Kiwanuka, the Minister for Foreign Affairs Henry Oryem Okello and the Minister for industry, trade and SMEs Pujitha Anne Kyambadde. The journey in Kampala was also occasion to meet some of the most important SMEs supportive associations of the country, such as the President of the National Chamber of Commerce and industry of Uganda Olive Kigongo z. and President of USSIA, the National Association of small scale industry Sssubi Daniel Musiitwa, with whom it was agreed to sign a cooperation agreement in the near future.
September’s mission saw WUSME delegation engaged in a dense program of activities and meetings which allowed the Association to further strengthen and consolidate relations with UGANDA and the Union’s presence and action in this African country, especially following the appointment of Daniel Musiitwa Ssubi – USSIA President – as member of WUSME Board of Directors by the General Assembly of members, held in July 2012 in San Marino. WUSME delegation visiting Kampala could follow up the first meetings held in March and hold new ones with some of the most important representatives of the Ugandan Government, such as the Vice President Edward k. Sekandi, the Minister of State for industry and Technology Shinyabulo-James Mutende, the Minister for Housing Sam Engola, the Minister for Foreign Affairs Asuman Kiyingi, the Minister for Agriculture Zerubabel m. Nyiira, the UGANDA INVESTMENT AUTHORITY, the President of the National Chamber of Commerce and industry of Uganda Olive Kigongo z., Representatives of the Federation of Ugandan exporters Associations and other business owners interested in the Association.
In 2013 WUSME was active in CAMEROON, where a REPRESENTATION of the UNION participated in the ANNUAL DAY OF THE ENTERPRISE in Douala and held its first WORKSHOP in cooperation with the Ministry of SMEs and carried out the procedure required for the formal accreditation of the Union in the country.
In the same year, thanks to the appointment of Mrs. Yang Rongyong as Member of the Board and Chairman of the Permanent Commission of Financial Issues, the World Union of SMEs began a period and path of growing intensifying relations with CHINA, its SMEs related authorities, institutions and stakeholders in order to reach new agreements and tighten alliances of mutual benefit to the benefit of SMEs in both countries. WUSME President Gian Franco Terenzi, on the occasion of a mission in CHINA in January 2013, held a meeting with Ms. Yang Rongyong and discussed on several issues regarding the development of the Association in the country and the opportunities of cooperation available in China to support SMEs.
WUSME was proud to welcome as new member of the Board, a leading figure in the Chinese business community, who participated in the meeting held with Mr Wang Xhi Xiong, President of the Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, President of Shanghai Federation of Industry & Commerce and Vice President of the All China Federation of Industry & Commerce. During the meeting several matters of common interest were discussed, including the development opportunities existing in the field of trade relations and business and the opportunity to launch a collaboration on some specific projects.
On the occasion of this visit to China, President Gian Franco Terenzi also visited the city of XIAN to meet local authorities, learn more about the characteristics of the SMEs of the city and territory, which is the largest industrial center in northwest China, and evaluate the possibilities available for future cooperation.
YEAR 2014 witnessed the further development and strengthening of WUSME relations with International Organizations and many countries, among which also CHINA.
In early 2014 WUSME President Gian Franco Terenzi visited again CHINA to further enhance the Union’s presence, links and cooperation opportunities with institutions, associations and academic reality dedicated to the development of small and medium-sized enterprises, Crafts and culture of entrepreneurship.
In this country the Union is today proudly represented by a Member of the Board of great authority and expertise in China Mrs. Yang Rongyong, committed to encourage the promotion of the Association and its action in support of SMEs in China also in cooperation with the CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY OF SHANGHAI AND OTHER CHINESE INSTITUTIONS.
Later in May 2014, WUSME President Gian Franco Terenzi returned back to China to participate in the 60th anniversary of the Foundation of the Chinese Association for Friendship with Foreign peoples (CPAFFC), at the great Hall of the people to Tian’an Men Square in Beijing, and meet the CHINESE PRESIDENT XI JINPING, who attended the event. In his speech, Xi Jinping reiterated that the friendship among peoples is an important force for promoting peace and development in the world and that the Chinese people aspire to a peaceful life and to harmonious development together with the peoples of the rest of the world, so as to jointly promote the great cause of peace and development of mankind. President Xi Jinping greeted personally President Terenzi, recalling the long-lasting friendship between two countries so different in some regards, but sharing important values like friendship and cooperation.
In September 2014, WUSME organized its ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL SMEs DAY in the Republic of San Marino, anglobal gathering which included the INTERNATIONAL SMEs CONFERENCE, GENERAL MEETING and WORKSHOPentitled “WASTE TO ENERGY – NEW TECHNOLOGIES OF SMES AND CRAFTS FOR TURNING POLLUTING WASTE INTO CLEAN ENERGY”. Participants were delegates from all over the world, China, India, Africa and European Countries. The workshop was opened by State Secretary in charge of territory, environment, International relations and waste management for the Republic of San Marino, who offered active cooperation of the RSM Government in all further endeavors of WUSME to help solving environment and waste problems in San Marino and in the Adriatic Italian region. WUSME President Dr. Gian Franco Terenzi convened this Workshop, in cooperation with WUSME Vice Presidents from France and India, bearing in mind that WASTE is part of the global economy, as more than 4 billion metric tons of waste are been worldwide produced every year, containing either garbage or “gold”. It is possible, with modern technologies, to convert such garbage in valuable commodities with a market price like gold, crude oil, gas and electricity. More than 90% of all SMEs and Crafts are actively involved in new waste management a and waste technologies. Such as recycling of valuable raw materials and use of organic waste from household and industry can nowadays be converted to commodities such as organic fertilizers and building materials. The workshop heard statements from WUSME Vice President J.S. Juneja, Chinese delegates, experts from Canada, Germany, Hungary and Austria. The International Conference and General Meeting which followed the Workshop was opened by WUSME President Gian Franco Terenzi, who then gave the floor to UNAS – National Union of Craftsmen of San Marino- President Loretta Jeanne Menicucci. Both Presidents expressed their welcome message, conveyed best wishes for the good result of the meeting and informed the participants of the agreement signed in July 2014 among WUSME, the Secretariat of State for Labor of the Republic of San Marino and UNAS (National Craftsmen Union of San Marino) for the promotion and realization of international programs of training in entrepreneurship and crafts, to be held in the Professional Training Centre of San Marino with the cooperation of Master Craftsmen members of UNAS, in order to train groups of students coming from different parts of the world, especially from emerging and less privileged countries, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, where WUSME has conceived the creation of an entrepreneurial and professional training program in favor of 26,500 refugees for which is now awaiting the approval and contribution of the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) in Geneva. Then, WUSME delegates, partners and members – present at the meeting and coming from all over the world- intervened to report on the activities going on in their country, area of interest or field of business. In particular, WUSME National Representative Angeline Henzen and the Officer of the Ministry of SMEs of Cameroon exposed the progress made by the Union in the country in the course of the year with the support of the Government and informed of the upcoming participation of WUSME in the INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION OF SMEs “PROMOTE” 2014 in DECEMBER 6-14, 2014. The diversified economy emerging in Cameroon and in the Central African countries (10 countries ECCAS) is generating new forms of interest and opportunities for collaboration at national, regional and international levels in the various sectors. WUSME, through its active and direct participation in the SMEs exhibition PROMOTE 2014, aims to provide specific support and meet the special needs of SMEs in Cameroon and Central Africa through a series of actions that may relate to the different stages of life and needs of a SMALL ENTERPRISE, such as birth and start-up, entrepreneurial and professional training (CRAFTS more suited to major fields existing and /or potential), development and consolidation, search for financing, strengthening of its own network of qualified partners, promotion of its activities, participation in forums, debates and B2B meetings.
Here like elsewhere WUSME is committed to help SMEs successfully participate in the new economic challenges the world will be able to offer.
Meanwhile, in 2014, WUSME’s relations and cooperation with UNITED NATIONS agencies and bodies were further intensified through the visits made in October and November 2014 by the WUSME Official delegates to UNOV – the United Nations Office in Vienna.
In October 2014, meetings were held by WUSME delegates with officers of UNOV, UNIDO and UNODC – United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, leading to positive results in view of a collaboration of WUSME with the UNIDO Global Forum (particularly with the Business, Investment and Technology Services Branch), the UNCITRAL – United Nations Commission for international-trade law- working on international agreements to facilitate trade between SMEs and UNODC under the program launched to facilitate the sale of products of alternative development of small enterprises on national and international markets. WUSME Representatives are working to propose projects based on alternative agriculture.
In November 2014, USME Representatives at UN ECOSOC and UNOV attended the 2nd UNIDO FORUM and held side meetings with high ranking UNIDO Officers. The UNIDO FORUM has been opened by the General Secretary of the United Nations, H.E. Ban Ki Moon and the General Director of UNIDO, H.E. Li Jong. The UNIDO’s Program for Country Partnership highlights the importance of cooperation with the private sector, particularly with Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with a view at their flexibility, their important role as job creators and their decisive contribution to GDP growth.
In December 2014 WUSME participated in PROMOTE 2014, the Annual SMEs Exhibition organized in CAMERUN. The diversified economy emerging in Cameroon and in the Central African countries (10 countries ECCAS) generates new forms of interest and opportunities for collaboration at national, regional and international levels in the various sectors. Through its active and direct participation in this event, the UNION aims at providing specific support to the special needs of SMEs in Cameroon and Central Africa through a series of actions that may relate to the different stages of life and needs of a SMALL ENTERPRISE, such as birth and start-up, entrepreneurial and professional training (CRAFTS more suited to major fields existing and /or potential), development and consolidation, financing, strengthening of its own network of qualified partners, promotion of its activities, participation in forums, debates and B2B meetings. WUSME Permanent Representation in Cameroon, headed by Mrs. Angeline Henzen, was glad to get in contact and evaluate how best to assist the specific cases, in collaboration with the WUSME international headquarters of San Marino and Cameroonian institutions supporting the presence and action of the UNION in the country. WUSME is commited to help small African entrepreneurs,or aspiring ones, to successfully participate in the new economic challenges that this emerging region of the continent and the world will be able to offer.