Step Up – Improving labour market access for unemployed

Nepal faces enormous employment challenges that are exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Difficulties to find gainful employment for the unemployed include lack of information on jobs and business opportunities, appropriate skills and access to networks and support services such as career guidance or counselling. In addition, business support services that provide entrepreneurs with services to start, sustain and improve their businesses are weak or even missing. The project aims to address these deficiencies in the current employment ecosystem and contribute to the Government of Nepal’s efforts to increase job creation and the employability of its labour force.
Biratnagar, Nepal
Budhiganga, Nepal
Project duration
2021 - 2024

The Project

The Step Up project improves existing support services in the employment ecosystem and facilitates entrepreneurship and self-employment in thriving economic clusters.

 To this end, it provides capacity building of existing public and private labour market insertion providers, especially regarding the provision of timely and relevant information on job, business, and demand-based training opportunities.

To improve jobseekers’ access to entrepreneurship and self-employment opportunities the project strengthens business platforms and networks such as the Chambers of Commerce and industry associations. With their networks and industry-based knowledge, they can support jobseekers to seize self-employment and entrepreneurship opportunities within thriving economic sectors.

Lastly, the project strengthens business development support services and business incubators that help entrepreneurs to start, improve and sustain their businesses.

The project aims to benefit jobseekers in the project areas with a particular focus on women, returned migrants and those who have recently lost their jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Project Goals

  1. Public and private labour market insertion service providers deliver more effective services.
  2. Training providers offer demand-based trainings that increase the employability of the unemployed.
  3. Local business platforms provide technical knowledge and market information to jobseekers and support them to seize self-employment and entrepreneurship opportunities within thriving economic sectors.
  4. Entrepreneurship support service providers effectively support micro, small and medium enterprises to start, sustain and scale up their businesses.

 Project Partners

  • Public and private labour market insertion service providers
  • Training service providers
  • Chamber of commerce and industry associations
  • Business development service providers

Expected Results

  • 4 500 jobseekers (50% women) access improved labour market insertion services.
  • 1 100 people (50% women) are wage-employed, self-employed or take up entrepreneurial activities and increase their income.
  • 700 jobs are created.

Financing partner

The StepUp project is financed by the Happel Foundation, among other donors. It is part of the Swisscontact Development Programme, which is co-financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA. 


Labour market insertion
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Sustainable agriculture, Entrepreneurial ecosystems, Labour market insertion, Initial vocational education and training
Women’s Economic Empowerment Leads to Stability and Equity
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Sustainable agriculture, Labour market insertion
Swisscontact collaborates with Chamber of Industries Morang for Birat Expo 2022
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