Cost-shared grants—grants that include funding from IESC programs coupled with grantee matching funds—are central to IESC’s work in catalyzing private sector growth and employment. Through the strategic use of competitively awarded cost-shared grants, along with targeted IESC technical assistance, we engage with and strengthen the capacity of entrepreneurs; farmers; micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs); skills training institutions; financial institutions; and private sector associations—and help them achieve their goals. IESC’s proven and innovative model for cost-shared grants includes a Pay-for-Results (PfR) incentive, as appropriate, to facilitate innovation and drive impact.
Tourism Resilience in Sri Lanka
Funder: European Union
Program Overview: Tourism Resilience is supporting Sri Lanka’s tourism recovery and resilience by retaining jobs and small businesses through the provision of small grants and technical assistance; supporting sustainability and innovation through the development of new and diversified tourism products; and supporting small and medium enterprises aligned to those tourism products to help them compete in the changing tourism landscape.
Relation to IESC Expertise: Through the program’s Economic Opportunity Grants Fund, IESC provides cost-shared grants to micro, small, and medium tourism enterprises located near the Pekoe Trail—a program-initiated walking trail and tourism experience. Through these grants, IESC is supporting enterprises to develop new or improved products and services to meet the expected demand from travelers on the trail. All grants include a grantee cost-share adapted to the revenue size of the business, thereby receiving matching funds from even micro and small enterprises. This mechanism enables buy-in from grantees and contributes to the sustainability of the businesses catering to tourism demand around the trail.
Republic of Georgia
Industry-led Skills Development
Program Overview: The Industry-led Skills Development program is developing industry-relevant human capacity that contributes to high-value employment opportunities and increased economic competitiveness in Georgia. The program is achieving this via a $13 million grants fund, by systematically engaging employers to equip Georgians with skills demanded in sectors with high growth potential, and by creating direct linkages between training programs and employment opportunities.
Relation to IESC Expertise: IESC utilizes a $13 million competitive cost-share grants fund, which co-invests in initiatives that facilitate and leverage private sector engagement in skills development to address workforce needs in Georgia. Target industries include healthcare, construction, agriculture, finance, transportation, ICT, and manufacturing. The grants are performance and milestone based, include a Pay-for-Performance model, and mobilize cost-share from grantees that ensures grantees’ commitment to achieving results. Through the grants, IESC has incentivized the private sector to engage in innovative pilot projects, develop short- and long-term training programs meeting market demand, and increase access to training for rural and priority populations.
Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH)
Workforce and Higher Access to Markets (WHAM)
Program Overview: WHAM assisted high-growth, exporting, and export-ready small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in specific sectors through grants and volunteer technical assistance that improved the workforce; helped companies to identify and access new customers and markets; and helped companies introduce quality management systems, technology upgrades, and/or necessary certifications in demand by target markets, especially the EU. WHAM also supported the establishment of centers of excellence in the targeted sectors.
Relation to IESC Expertise: In BiH, IESC’s $2.6 million grant fund generated over $3.2 million in in-kind contributions. IESC leveraged contributions from its private sector grantees, which included groups of SMEs and training centers. Companies supported by workforce training cost-shared grants could train and employ non-traditional employees, including introducing women into higher-paid manufacturing jobs traditionally held by men. Cost-shared grants also supported new product innovations. One grant combined academic experience in Banja Luka from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and practical engineering experience from the SME Tri-Best. They jointly developed a hydraulic press for recycling material, creating a machine that pressed garbage and reduced its volume five times.