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Emailed submissions must contain the subject: “Jordan Valley Links Project (JVL) SME Matching Grant”

Jordan Valley Links Project (JVL) Overview

Jordan Valley Links (JVL) is a five-year project (2016-2021) funded by MEDA and Global Affairs Canada. MEDA is a not-for profit organization whose mission is to create business solutions to poverty. It was founded in 1953 by a small group of business people who saw the need to invest with, and provide support to entrepreneurs and communities to help them take advantage of economic opportunities. MEDA’s work is founded on respectful interaction with communities, supporting women to rise above the social and cultural barriers that stand in the way of success and improved livelihood. MEDA’s projects cover over 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia-Pacific, and Europe. 

The ultimate outcome of the project is to increase the contribution by women and youth to Jordan’s economic growth. JVL will seek to support women and youth in the Jordan Valley to seize new opportunities in targeted sectors and in turn become strong economic actors. JVL will use two main approaches to achieve this goal:

  • Improving women’s and youth’s entrepreneurial and business acumen through capacity building and market linkages;
  • Working with communities, families, and market actors to reduce barriers to entry for enterprise development for women and youth.

JVL will work in the Jordan Valley and surrounding areas to directly support 25,000 women and youth in increasing their incomes and their contribution to Jordan’s economic growth. A further 25,000 individuals are expected to benefit indirectly from the project’s initiatives in three sectors: food processing, tourism and clean technologies.

Scope of the Grant

The SME Grant will incentivize existing small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to provide services and/or facilitate improved market access for women and youth entrepreneurs (WYEs) in three value chains of food processing, community-based tourism and clean technology. The SME applying for this grant should support the development and growth of WYEs to increase their competitiveness and integration by: improving their business operation, improving their supply chain, increasing their sales, increasing their market linkages and marketing their products, and/or increasing their access to financial services.

SME Grant recipients should commit to sharing risk and investing in project outcomes. Examples of potential SME initiatives include upgrading equipment or introducing new technologies to promote growth and efficiency in JVL’s target subsectors.

Expected Results

The grant recipient is expected to have one or more of the following results that directly benefit JVL clients:

  • Improved production and operation process
  • New product/service
  • Improved product/service quality
  • New marketing channels and linkages
  • Improved sales
  • New linkages within the supply chains, including new suppliers
  • Adoption and use of clean technology (energy efficiency, renewable energy, water efficiency, etc.) to increase business efficiency and revenue.

Who can apply for the SME grant?

  • SMEs in the above mentioned value chains: Any SME that has commercial linkages with value chain players, this includes processors, exporters, traders, input companies etc. The SME should have activities that support WYEs to improve their production and/or access to market.
  • Business development service provider (BDS): Any service provider that can develop the technical, managerial or financial capacities of WYEs, with the intention to improve operations and products, thereby increasing market penetration for WYEs.
  • Business associations/cooperatives: Any member-based entity for mutual interest and benefit of its members, including any associations of women and/or youth in the Jordan Valley can apply to this grant, if they have activities (such as training or market events) that benefit their members to increase sales.
  • Financial Institutions: Any microfinance and/or lending institution that intends to improve design and delivery of its financial products and/or services to reach WYEs in the Jordan Valley, in order to improve WYEs business operations, products and/or marketing.
  • Other market actors that can support Jordan Valley WYEs to improve their businesses.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Legally registered in Jordan with necessary licenses and permissions to conduct business (registration certificate and vocational license)
  • “Good standing” legal and financial position with Jordanian government (including tax authorities)
  • Minimum one-year experience in target sector
  • Provide required documents including most recent two years of audited financial statements
  • Ability to provide required match contributions
  • Operate in the target Jordan Valley area and targets WYEs in proposed project
  • Should have five or more employees to meet JVL project definition of SMEs

Grant Amount

  • The grant size is up to CAD $70,000 (equivalent to approximately JOD 36,000)
  • The applicant should contribute at least 30% cost share of the total project cost. Cost-share expenses are expenses contributed by the applicant directly attributable to the grant activities. Amounts charged must be reasonable, allocable, and be supported by actual costs incurred by the SME (i.e. no ‘market value rates’ or profit amounts).

Ineligible Costs

Costs that are considered ineligible under the Project include, but are not limited to the


  1. Entertainment expenses;
  2. Costs incurred before the effective date of the Agreement;
  3. Gifts;
  4. Travel insurance (health, cancellation, baggage, etc.), except as previously approved by MEDA;
  5. Carrying charges;
  6. Membership fees;
  7. Patents;
  8. Immunizations or medications, unless allowed under the Technical Assistance Handbook;
  9. Interest expenses;
  10. Costs related to non-authorized accompanying family members;
  11. Costs related to building, construction, and any other physical infrastructure costs; and
  12. Costs related to procurement of any equipment or supplies for producers and/or processors not preapproved by MEDA, including but not limited to land, seeds, processing machinery.

Application Process

The following diagram describes the general application process:


The following chart summarizes the application process for the applicant:


Stage 1: Call launch

JVL will launch a series of SME Matching Grant RFPs based on specific value chains. Once the RFP is open, applicants are welcome to review the eligibility criteria to determine whether to proceed with developing a Concept Note.

Stage 2: Concept Note

Applicants should include background/context information, the problem/challenge identification, intervention description that include objectives and activities, targeted areas and beneficiaries, gender equality and environmental considerations, and the SME profile. A brief budget summary should be included as well.

The applicant should submit the following:

  1. Budget summary (no more than one page that include the main categories cost and SME contribution)
  2. Certificate of registration and vocational license
  3. Last two years audited financial statement (upon receiving these document JVL project and SME will sign non-disclosure agreement to ensure confidentiality)

Official document to show “good standing” legal and financial position with Jordanian government (including tax authorities)

Applications that do not meet the eligibility requirements or are incomplete will be disqualified. Concept notes will be evaluated against the following criteria.

  • Relevance to JVL sectors and geographical focus
  • Business Idea (Innovation, Sustainability and Value Addition)
  • Impact of the action on women and youth
  • Environment sustainability
  • Cost Evaluation - the budget will be evaluated for general reasonableness, and cost‐effectiveness. The applicant’s cost application will be evaluated to ensure it is a realistic financial expression of the proposed project and does not contain estimated costs which may be unreasonable or unallowable. Cost negotiation will only be conducted with applicants if deemed necessary.

Stage 3: Business Proposal

Upon approval of the Concept Note, the applicant will be invited to submit a full business proposal and detailed budget. A template for the proposal will be made available to the applicant if the concept note is selected by the JVL team. The proposal should have details about the intervention, objectives, activities, timeline and detailed budget. The proposal phase involves in-depth consultation with the JVL team to ensure that the proposal reflects JVL’s intended approach and is in line with JVL objectives and outcomes. 

Evaluation Criteria

  • Management and organizational capacity: Demonstrates technical and financial capability to carry out proposed business proposal/initiative (includes availability of required matching funds and the management team responsible for delivery)
  • Commercial viability: The degree to which the venture makes “business sense”, is integrated into the company strategy, opens new market opportunities, and has the likelihood for long-term sustainability.
  • Cost effectiveness: The cost-effective use of funds to ensure a strong social return or impact on JVL target clients.
  • Cross-cutting: The degree to which environmental and gender equality considerations are incorporated into the venture.
  • Impact on WYE in the Jordan Valley: The degree to which the initiative delivers benefit to women and youth either in the business’ supply chain or through expanded employment opportunities, or enhanced delivery of service to women and youth business owners.

Stage 4: Due Diligence

After review and initial acceptance of the proposal, JVL will notify the applicant and begin the due diligence process.  Due diligence is part of the pre-award process; and the results must confirm that a potential recipient can successfully comply with the financial, managerial and programmatic requirements of the SME Matching Grant Fund. The due diligence process will require a significant investment of time from the recipient to provide the necessary information.

Stage 5: Contract

After successful due diligence, JVL will prepare and share a draft contract with the recipient. Once both parties agree to the terms and conditions, the contract is signed and executed.

Submission Requirements

  • The concept note template can be downloaded here (150 KB)
  • Language: Concept Notes and Proposals shall be submitted in English.
  • Currency: The budgeted costs must be represented in Jordanian Dinars (JOD) and total budget in CAD dollars.
  • Authorized Signatory: The application form should be signed by a person duly authorized to submit the application on behalf of the SME. The concept note shall include name, title, email and telephone number of the person or persons who are authorized to discuss and accept a grant, if awarded.


Requests for clarification(s) will receive a response from the project within 10 working days.  Requests should be submitted via email to:

Responses: JVL will provide consolidated responses to all requests for clarifications.

Concept Note Deadline & Delivery

Concept Notes must be submitted via email to:

Special Considerations

The application and recipient should align with gender and environment policy as following:

Promoting Gender Equality 

In line with Global Affairs Canada’s objectives regarding gender equality, the JVL SME Matching Grant aims to benefit women as well as men in the three target sub-sectors (food processing, community-based tourism, and clean technology). To this end, an in-depth review of proposals will be conducted by the evaluation team to assess the intended benefits to women. Each proposal should include a description of how the grant will help the business better deliver value to women and men, either as employees, suppliers, or customers. Particularly, proposals aimed at reducing gender-specific constraints such as innovative ideas or technologies that help to reduce the time and labor required of women are of much interest to the program’s achievement of gender equality. Furthermore, business proposals from women applicants are highly encouraged. Women and men applicants will receive technical support from the project staff in preparing business plans as deemed necessary. 

Environmental Compliance 

MEDA has a strong organizational commitment to protect the environment while fostering economic development in all its programming. To this end, the SME Matching Grant will screen for environmental issues and an in-depth review for compliance with the organization’s as well as its donor’s environmental policies and local regulations. 

Proposals aiming to promote the protection of the environment, conservation practices, and climate smart technologies, are highly encouraged and supported by this program. Following the procedures mentioned in the Project's Environmental Management Plan, and in collaboration with applicants, JVL staff will conduct an environmental review/analysis to screen shortlisted grant proposals/applications. This screening will identify grant activities' potential environmental impact, develop mitigation measures as necessary, and specify environmental monitoring and reporting requirements. As per the environmental analysis findings, the Project will build the capacities of grantees to ensure they understand and implement appropriate mitigation measures and monitoring. Mitigation measures, monitoring and reporting requirements will be added to the award contract.