Business Climate Development

ITC, US partner to back climate-smart small businesses in developing countries

Pamela Coke-Hamilton

The International Trade Centre (ITC) and the Department of State Office of Global Partnerships partnered to scale up and support access to finance for small businesses in developing countries working towards the low-carbon transition.

Small businesses make up 90% of companies worldwide and account for the bulk of emissions along the supply chains of big corporations that produce most everyday goods, such as food, electronics, and apparel.

ITC Executive Director Pamela Coke-Hamilton and the  Department of State Special Representative for Global Partnerships Dorothy McAuliffe today signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on advancing the Connecting Climate Entrepreneurs (CCE) initiative on the margins of COP27. CCE aims to address the climate crisis and contribute to economic empowerment in developing countries by nurturing entrepreneurship aimed at climate solutions.

ITC Executive Director Pamela Coke-Hamilton said: ‘If we are serious about tackling climate change, we must engage the silent majority: small businesses. This is Africa’s COP and nearly 70% of African small firms we surveyed say climate change is a significant business concern. We need to give them the tools to act. Our partnership with the Department of State is a concrete step to supporting small businesses working to reduce their environmental footprint. Thanks to the United States for partnering with us to make a difference for those who need it most.’

Department of State Special Representative for Global Partnerships Dorothy McAuliffe said: ‘I am proud to initiate this partnership between the Department of State and International Trade Centre to address our common goal of combating the climate crisis and facilitating economic empowerment in developing countries by nurturing entrepreneurship aimed at climate solutions. It is fitting that we sign our memorandum of understanding here at COP27, where the world is coming together to promote partnerships and support for climate-smart entrepreneurs and businesses.’

Building on ITC’s focus on supporting small business in developing countries to make the low-carbon transition and the Department of State’s diplomatic priorities and programmes, the new partnership will support climate-smart small businesses in accessing international markets as well as in bringing their voices to the tables of policymakers.

The agreement will target four areas of work: engagement between businesses and thought leaders, expertise through the sharing of skills and knowledge, capital through initiatives that support access to finance, and deployment of resources and tech-based solutions. The partnership also covers the Climate Smart Network, an online platform connecting corporations to green suppliers in developing countries, to be launched on 17 November during COP27.

Building on ITC’s experience in developing market access tools with over one million registered users, the Climate Smart Network provides validated data with strong data privacy mechanisms, hosted on United Nations servers.

About the International Trade Centre: The International Trade Centre is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in developing countries to become more competitive in global markets – thus contributing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. For more information, visit

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About the Department of State Office of Global Partnerships:  The Department of State Office of Global Partnerships harnesses the technology, markets and resources of the private sector to enable the Department of State to advance United States foreign policy goals and objectives.

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About the author

Byron Adonis Mutingwende