Strengthening Small Business Value Chains (SSBVC)
2015 - 2021
MEDA in partnership with Global Affairs Canada, is working with 22,500 men and women small entrepreneurs (SEs), 225 small growing businesses (SGBs) and 30 lead firms in the manufacturing, agriculture, and construction sectors to grow their businesses and increase their contribution to rural economies in the Arusha, Morogoro, and Mtwara corridors of Tanzania.
Despite efforts between 2007 and 2016 that have reduced the country’s poverty rate from 34.4% to 26.8%, the absolute number of poor people has held at about 13 million due to high population growth. Tanzania has a strong dependence on agriculture and agro-processing which makes the economy highly vulnerable to weather shocks and fluctuating commodity prices. 76% of Tanzania's population rely on agriculture. Due to the lack of knowledge and infrastructure to develop and implement new agricultural technology; droughts, floods, or temperature shocks can severely damage the living standards.
Tanzania is a diverse low-income country of around 56 million people with a steadily growing economy, sustaining relatively high economic growth over the last decade, averaging 6-7% a year; yet businesses and entrepreneurs of all levels continue to struggle to meaningfully contribute to the economy. Small businesses and entrepreneurs face constraints with access to information on markets, strick regulatory environment, access to new and environmentally sustainable technology, and access to appropriate financial products.
SSBVC’s lead firm methodology leverages impact using a top-down approach, working via established and growth-oriented businesses to create and sustain business ecosystems. Via these lead firms, the project reach not only facilitates growth (infrastructure, technology, formalization) for these businesses, but to their whole supply chain – from small entrepreneurs to expanded end markets. Over the life of the project SSBVC will provide sustainable Innovation Grants to 30 lead firms who further impact to 22,500 small entrepreneurs; facilitate business services to 225 SGBs; mobilize 60 business alliances fostering formalization and collaboration; partner with business enabling environment stakeholders to improve business environment and facilitate stakeholder dialogue; work with financial institutions to improve financial services; and to leverage a $1 million innovative investment solution to support at least $4 million in lease financing.