The United States Government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Berytech launched the Scaling-up Agri-food Innovations (SAFI) project to facilitate food import substitution and better equip the agri-business sector and rural communities with the technical and financial resources to boost productivity. This effort will increase local and export sales while improving producer income.
With $185,000 in support from the USAID-funded Agriculture and Rural Empowerment (ARE) Activity, SAFI provides technical and in-kind support for eight small and medium enterprise (SMEs) whose solutions can be used to substitute imported food products and whose business models can be scaled up and replicated in the food sector.
Starting on June 20, 2021, Berytech called for SMEs offering services or products in agri-food or agriculture sectors to submit proposals to reduce food import dependency and create jobs for vulnerable communities. In particular, the call targets SMEs that have more than 3 employees, existing market access, and produce viable products with high-growth potential.
During each of the competition cycle, four selected SMEs will benefit from business foundation programs, 24 hours of tailored one-on-one coaching, facilitated partnerships, and advisory support from Berytech’s Agri-Food Innovation Cluster (QOOT Cluster). The four selected SMEs will each receive up to $25,000 in in-kind support for further technical assistance, tools, and equipment, based on needs. This will further help to improve their skills, develop their products and services, and strengthen their scaling plans.
The USAID-funded ARE Chief of Party Brian King noted: “Innovation is necessary during times of crisis for businesses to meet the extraordinary challenges that have, unfortunately, become the new normal for Lebanon. USAID’s support to SAFI through ARE will help firms to scale innovations to meet these challenges and contribute to increased resilience of agriculture and agri-businesses in Lebanon.”
Ramy Boujawdeh – Deputy GM at Berytech explains, “The SAFI project came at a time where Lebanon needs to reduce importation due to the economic crisis it is facing; we are working to support agri-food businesses creating alternative innovative solutions for imported material and services, in order to improve local production, increase private sector competitiveness and livelihood, enhance sales and exports, all while creating new job opportunities in Lebanon”.
For more information on the selection criteria and procedure to apply, please visit the page: https://berytech.org/programs/safi/apply/
Information on the USAID-funded Agriculture and Rural Empowerment (ARE) Activity
The ARE is a $57 million multi-year activity funded by the United States Government, through USAID to develop rural economies in Lebanon by supporting the agri-food sector and other industries to unlock local and export sales potential while also creating jobs and increasing farmers’ and worker’s incomes.