- Matthew Willis
Laos Business Ecosystem Partnership Fund Announces First Three Awards
As part of its work to implement the USAID Laos Business Environment Activity, IBI is making grants to promote the development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) through its Laos Business Ecosystem Partnership Fund (LBEPF). LBEPF beneficiaries may include business development service providers, industry associations, vocational institutions, input suppliers, and cooperatives, each of which is able to effectively address the capacity and operational constraints faced by SMEs.
The following organizations are the first to be selected for grants under the LBEPF:
Katalyst Partners is a consulting organization headquartered in Vientiane that organizes interactive educational seminars and provides development solutions to emerging businesses. Their collaboration under the LBEPF includes an eight-month mentorship program for more than 20 SMEs in both Vientiane and Champasak.
The Broom Handicraft Cooperative of Ban Pattana Vangtao (BHCV) is a Champasak-based cooperative that represents local producers of hand-made brooms. Comprised of over 245 member families, the BHCV facilitates the production and sale of hand-crafted brooms both domestically and in nearby Thailand.
The Bamboo Handicraft Group Phonsa-ad (BHGP), also based in Champasak, represents several local producers of bamboo products. The BHGP markets several characteristic Lao handicrafts, such as rice steamers, trays, and woven baskets, which have a range of practical uses.
Strategic support for Lao PDR’s emerging SME sector will help the country emerge from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. IBI’s systems approach, which strengthens diverse aspects of the enabling environment, is supporting SMEs to utilize enhanced standards of product design and customer service, as well as improve their capacity to engage in growing domestic and international markets.