Market Access Upgrade Programme (MARKUP) for the East African Community

Application Deadline: 31 July 2020 . 

Expressions of interest are invited from Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and/or Cooperatives who wish to receive technical assistance in improving their knowledge on business and financial management and require support in raising finance and/or investment capital.

Project Background

The International Trade Centre is implementing “Market Access Upgrade Programme” (MARKUP), which aims to contribute to the economic development of the East African Community partner countries by improving market access to European Union (EU) and the East African region. Financed by the EU, the project supports post-harvest organizations  in the following countries and sectors/value chains:

  • Burundi: Coffee, Tea, Horticulture
  • Kenya: Coffee, Tea, Avocado
  • Rwanda: Coffee, Horticulture
  • Tanzania: Coffee, Tea, Avocado, Spices
  • Uganda: Coffee, Cocoa

Scope of the Technical Assistance

Access to finance is a core component of the MARKUP project and is an integral part of SME development which is an important element to ensure a more inclusive economic growth model. The goal of the technical assistance to be provided is to facilitate access to funding. It should be noted that the project itself will not provide funding directly. The final decision whether to fund the company will rely exclusively on the financial institutions, investors, matching grant facilities managers that will be introduced through the component of the project.

The technical assistance may consist of:

  • Participation in a series of training sessions/webinars where selected SMEs or cooperatives will be trained in business and strategic plan development, financial literacy and ways to meet the requirements of different financial institutions and investors;
  • A 4-month coaching programme during which shortlisted SMEs /cooperatives will receive individual coaching and advisory services from an expert to improve their internal financial management, prepare realistic and bankable business plans and submit funding applications to financial institutions or investors. SMEs/cooperatives successful in securing funding will continue receiving support;

Selection Criteria

To qualify for the support, the SMEs/cooperative must meet the following minimum criteria:

  1. Be established in a target country listed above;
  2. Be an SME or cooperative according to the national definition;
  3. Be involved in post-harvest operations (processing, transport, packaging, retail, wholesale and export) in a target sector above listed;
  4. Have at least 2 years of operations;
  5. Be in need for raising capital;
  6. Have the vision and willingness to scale up the business;
  7. Be willing to collaborate with the expert and the ITC project team by giving access to company premises, strategic documents and books;
  8. Make available all relevant personnel to participate in theoretical and hands-on training sessions and to meet the experts as required to implement the recommendations;
  9. Accomplish the action plan and complete assigned tasks within agreed upon timelines, for instance for business plan preparation.

Note: Priority in the selection will be given to SMEs and Cooperatives that show highest commitment and opportunity to raise funding (equity, debt or grants).

Process, Application Procedure and Timeline:

The selection of enterprises will be done by ITC experts, in two stages.

Stage I:

  • Enterprises are invited to express and confirm their interest by submitting the online Expression of Interest latest by 31 July 2020 . 
  • If selected by ITC, CEOs or top management will be requested to make themselves and their personnel available to participate in the online trainings starting in July2020.

Stage II:

  • After the online training sessions a number of SMEs/cooperatives will be selected based on an assessment and will receive dedicated coaching from finance experts (August 2020-December 2020) based on agreed work plans.

For More Information:

Visit the Official Webpage of the Market Access Upgrade Programme (MARKUP) for the East African Community



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