Our Work

Market Linkages

We support enterprises across an array of sectors to connect to new markets—whether domestic or international—to catalyze private sector growth and generate employment. We help enterprises meet industry standards and market requirements, support supply chain integration, secure opportunities for value addition in global value chains, and access and utilize new technologies. We advise and mentor enterprises on product quality, design, pricing, and packaging and marketing for target markets. Through trade shows, buyers’ and trade missions, road shows, and business-to-business networking, we facilitate lasting business relationships between buyers and sellers.

Program Examples

Dominican Republic (DR)

Exporting Quality (EQ)

Funder: USDA Food for Progress

Program Overview: EQ increased productivity and sales for high-value fruit and vegetable value chains (e.g., pineapple, avocado, cocoa). The program used a combination of technical assistance and intensive farmer training to ensure that food products being sold in local and export markets were grown, harvested, and handled under sanitary conditions with accountability.

Relation to IESC Expertise: IESC prepared and supported DR exporters to participate in trade shows, host buyer visits to the DR, and undertake exporter visits to the U.S. and Europe. IESC leveraged major international platforms such as Fruit Logistica Berlin and the North America Producer Marketing Association (PMA) to showcase beneficiary products, promote new product branding, and network with buyers. These efforts generated tens of millions in new transactions and transferred market knowledge. Beneficiaries generated more than $8 million in new sales for every $1 in market access program funding spent.


Linkages for Small and Medium Enterprises (LinkSME)

Funder: USAID

Program Overview: LinkSME built the capacity of Vietnamese business support organizations to advance linkages between Vietnamese small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and lead firms, thereby enhancing the capacity of SMEs to participate in global supply chains. Improved and increased business linkages help Vietnamese firms generate jobs, improve livelihoods, and encourage entrepreneurial innovation. Additionally, the program reduced major barriers limiting SME growth across Vietnam and helped to institutionalize key reforms.

Relation to IESC Expertise: IESC strengthened the capabilities of Vietnamese SMEs to meet the needs of foreign firms producing goods in Vietnam and large domestic firms that are turning to the local market for parts, supplies, and other intermediate goods rather than importing them from abroad. On the LinkSME project, IESC worked directly with SMEs to help them understand and respond to lead firms’ requirements and meet their specifications for product quality, order volume, and pricing. IESC partnered with business associations, manufacturing support centers, and SME promotion agencies to facilitate business-to-business networking events and opportunities for SMEs seeking to supply to lead firms.


Ghana Trade and Investment (GTI)

Funder: USAID

Program Overview: GTI improves the quality, productivity, and scale of high-value agricultural goods; facilitates linkages with buyers and sources of finance; reduces the costs and time to export and import goods; and strengthens compliance with international standards. IESC’s role as a subcontractor to Nathan Associates is focused on development of a food traceability system, enforcement of food safety standards/regulations, and alignment of local SPS standards with international standards.

Relation to IESC Expertise: In Ghana, IESC is working with micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), including agro-processors, growers, packhouses, and their smallholder outgrowers to adopt international standards necessary to access US, EU, and UK markets. We build firms’ capacity to obtain international standard certifications demanded by international buyers, including GlobalG.A.P., HACCP, FairTrade, African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), USDA Organic, and British Retail Consortium (BRC). IESC is also working with the Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate (PPRSD) to develop a user-friendly, geo-referenced, Global Standards 1 (GS1) electronic traceability system for Ghanaian agribusinesses to improve their access to buyers demanding product traceability.

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