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Sectors: Trade

Beneficiaries: Agencies Chambers, Corporations, SMEs

Regions: Asia, European Union

Category: Call for proposals

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WE Funding – Asia Central Invest – Boost…
Funds for: Boosting investments, the development of the private sector and the economic diversification in Central Asia, via encouraging the growth and expansion of SMEs
Main beneficiaries: chambers of commerce, sector-specific trade, industrial and professional association

Responsible: European commission

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Funds for: Boosting investments, the development of the private sector and the economic diversification in Central Asia, via encouraging the growth and expansion of MSMEs
Main beneficiaries: chambers of commerce, sector-specific trade, industrial and professional association

Priorities and funded actions:

Objectives
* To boost investments, the development of the private sector and the economic diversification in CA, via encouraging the growth and expansion of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs);
* To reinforce the role and the competences of Central Asian Business Intermediary Organisations, specifically with regard to their capacity to support and offer services to MSMEs and to influence policies in their favour, in order to increase MSMEs competitiveness on domestic and international markets;
* To increase the professional capacities of entrepreneurs and job seekers, both women and men, in order to stimulate job creation and MSME development

Priorities
* Actions focused on supporting MSMEs access to finance:
– Financial literacy initiatives: provision of training on financial management and accounting; provision of training on how to apply to bank loans;
– Financial instruments involving banks: support the use of Credit Guarantee Schemes; support SMEs’ access to public agencies that provide financial products to SMEs;
– Alternative financial instruments: support the use of alternative instruments available locally such as supply-chain financing (e.g. warehouse receipt financing, if available), credit co-operatives, asset-based financing such as leasing or factoring, private equity and early stage financing;
– Green financing portfolio: support MSMEs in accessing the green financing portfolio of products available locally;
– EU-supported instruments: transfer of knowledge on funding schemes under the blending mechanism and within the Investment Facility for Central Asia (IFCA)
* Actions addressing business, tax regulation and informal economy:
– Advocacy and awareness raising: helping to enhance the capacities of MSMEs and BIOs to represent their interests and be actively involved in the policy making process;
– Procedures: provide training, counselling and information regarding business regulations, procedures and interactions with the administration; help advocate on simplification measures (registration, licenses); support to deal with digitalised procedures, when available; support and advise on tax administration for MSMEs (e.g. prefilling, MSMEs regimes); 
– Business formalisation: help BIOs to identify possible incentives, simplification measures and procedures, anti-corruption mechanisms; support BIOs in advocating for them to the Government
* Actions focused on the promotion of intra-regional and international trade:
– Customs: provision of training to improve MSMEs’ capacities to understand and execute the custom clearance process; support BIOs’ in advocating for simplification and digitalisation of customs’ procedures;
– Standards, marketing, logistics: build export capacities including knowledge of product standards for MSMEs and of foreign markets; provide export-specific marketing, counselling and information to MSMEs; contribute to the development of logistical centres to facilitate trade across borders
* Actions focused on increasing professional capacities of entrepreneurs and job seekers, both women and men, in order to stimulate job creation and MSMEs development:  
– Help develop BIOs’ capacities to identify, advocate and represent MSMEs interests;
– Support BIOs competencies and structure to provide training and skill development activities to their members;
– Help provide managerial, entrepreneurial and technical knowledge to MSMEs. This might include seminars/training activities (team management, financial management, value chain competitiveness, marketing, new business models, circular economy, and sustainable production), advice on specific subjects (support MSMEs in the integration in the global value chains by responding to ethical, social and environmental standards, change management, certification of goods, Corporate Social Responsibility), internships in EU companies,  access to finance, innovation. Provide capacity building to job seekers, both women and men

Among financed actions
* Capacity building to BIOs:
– Workshops/Trainings/Study tours related to the following fields: BIOs institutional development, advocacy, lobbying, analytical skills, investment /export promotion, Compliance with social and environmental standards, access to green finance, circular economy, sustainable production, Renewable energy / energy efficiency;
* Capacity building to entrepreneurs, both women and men:
– Seminars/training activities (team management, financial management, value chain competitiveness, marketing, new business models, circular economy, and sustainable production)
– Advice on specific subjects (support MSMEs in the integration in the global value chains by responding to ethical, social and environmental standards, change management, certification of goods, Corporate Social Responsibility), internships in EU companies,  access to finance, innovation
* Capacity building to job seekers, both women and men:
– Seminars/training activities on entrepreneurship (how to write a business plan, how to set up a company, new business models, circular economy, start-up initiative), on employment (training on building knowledge and practical skills to access the labour market), as well as support to youth and minorities
* Mutual visits and staff exchanges between CA and European BIOs and within CA countries

Additional information
* This call for proposals is a restricted call for proposals. In first instance, only concept notes will be evaluated

* Initial duration of the action: between 24 and 48 months

* Eligibility:
– Be a legal person;
– Be a specific type of organisation such as:
> Business intermediaries representing MSMEs and promoting trade and investment between Europe and Central Asia. (chambers of commerce, sector-specific trade, industrial and professional associations, regulatory bodies and agencies promoting trade, investment and commercial activities as well as sector-based agencies working with MSMEs, etc.);
> Public agencies (typically boards of investment, trade promotion agencies etc.) at regional and local level, which are not directly or strictly related to the governments;
– Be established in a Member State of the EU or in other countries eligible under the DCI Regulation or in any of the following eligible Central Asian countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan 

– The partnerships have to include at least one organisation from a Member State of the EU and at least one organisation from an eligible Central Asian country 

– Actions must take place in the following Central Asia countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan