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Export Development Resilience Program (ASWAQ)- Closed


Export Development Resilience Program (ASWAQ)


Program Announcement

The Small and Medium Enterprise Assistance for Recovery and Transition (SMART) Project is a four year, USAID funded program implemented by DAI.  SMART aims to rapidly recover Palestinian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and put them on a path to revitalization following unprecedented crises e.g., COVID-19. SMART will help SMEs regain productivity, grow, and expand. It will promote economic growth and self-reliance in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. 

The Export Development Resilience Program (ASWAQ) is designed to address critical emerging challenges hindering the resilience, business continuity, and sustainability of exporting SMEs in the West Bank and East Jerusalem who lost their current markets or are trying to find new markets to maintain business continuity and grow in the current crisis. The program aims to enhance export capabilities and market access through providing market intelligence, export capacity building, export branding and promotion, standardization, and networking support, in addition to introducing critical export-related equipment that enables firms to meet specific potential buyer's requirements. 

ASWAQ will enable SMEs to:  

  • Build client firms’ business sustainability through export development and marketing. 
  • Access new markets and expand exports in current markets. 
  • Sustain and create new jobs.  
  • Enhance product packaging, labeling and standardization. 
  • Introduce technological improvements and critical export-related equipment that enable firms to meet specific potential buyers' requirements. 

Target Beneficiaries: Applicants located in West Bank and East Jerusalem based on the below definitions:

  • SME: a registered firm that employs 5 – 49 employees and has an annual turnover between $100,000 and $2 million.
  • Groups: consisting of two or more SME’s that have common needs.
  • Cooperative: an organization owned and run by a group of member businesses.

Award Ceiling and Beneficiary Contribution: Agreements will be subject to a ceiling of $50,000 and will cover up 75% of Technical Assistance and up to 60% of the cost of capital expenditures (Equipment). Capital expenditure should not exceed $20,000 of each grant’s value.

Program Support Duration: Up to nine months.  

Eligibility Criteria:  

  • Eligible entities will include SMEs, Cooperatives, aggregators/ Groups (that meet the above definition) who are engaged in export operations.  
  • Applicants must demonstrate export and growth potential.
  • Applicants must hold formal registration with relevant local authorities.
  • Applicants must be maintaining business operations at the time of application.
  • Applicants must be willing to undergo an assessment, engage with the SMART Project, and commit to make necessary changes.

Firms will be deemed not eligible if any of the following are true:

  • The firm’s primary operation is trading wholesale or retail.
  • The firm’s operations adversely affect the environment.
  • The firm operates in a residential building.
  • The applicant is a civil society, charity, or advocacy organization.

Selection Criteria:

  • Demonstrate resilience-based rationale for market access focused on a specific product or service that is suitable for export development. The rationale shall clearly describe the business performance before October 7th, the current situation including challenges, and a proposed plan under current operating conditions and challenges.
  • A well-defined viable product or service that is suitable for export and has market demand in the targeted market(s).
  • SME should have the operational capacity and resources to fulfill export orders, including production capabilities, quality control systems, supply chain management, and logistics capabilities.
  • The SME should demonstrate financial stability and viability, with the ability to manage the costs and risks associated with international trade activities including the program’s contribution.
  • The SME should have a committed management team with the capability and willingness to actively participate in the export development program and implement recommended strategies and action plans.
  • Compliance with USAID environmental and social safeguards
  • Emphasis will be on the Agriculture, Food, Stone and Marble, Paper, Garment, and Furniture sectors.

Application Deadline: Applications must be submitted no later than June 30, 2024, as listed on the cover page of the Request for Applications (RFA). The review and evaluation process will begin upon receipt of applications, and therefore we advise companies not to wait until the deadline for submitting the application. SMART will use a cohort approach to select a group of companies with the highest evaluation scores.

Further Information: For more details on the program, the eligibility, the evaluation criteria, and the cost-contribution coverage, please visit www.smartproject.ps.

For further inquiries email [email protected].

Information session:

Webinar Info Session: Export Development Resilience Program (ASWAQ 

Export Development Resilience Program (ASWAQ)- Closed

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