The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) launched an initiative to support 16 to 18 Lebanese small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the agri-food and artisanal sectors to access the United States market.
This initiative is supported by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) in partnership with the Ministry of Economy and Trade and aims to increase the production of these enterprises and contribute to their economic recovery.
The “Fast Track Export Support Program” kicked off on January 29th when goods were loaded to be shipped to the United States.
UNDP announced that The “Fast Track Export Support Program is part of its “ongoing efforts to support sustainable solutions that would unlock local companies’ export potential and provide a one-stop-shop solution to facilitate the entry of Lebanese goods into the U.S. market.”
UNDP has also partnered with Fair Trade Lebanon and the Net Holding to provide these SMEs with technical and logistical support, including training on legal and administrative requirements to enter the U.S. market, access to an experienced sales team, and guidance on packaging and labeling, and optimal market entry strategy.
The program will support and employ more than 800 Lebanese women and men and work with more than 1400 farmers under the technical support provided by UNDP.
Celine Moyroud, UNDP Resident Representative, said in a statement that the small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) in Lebanon “are facing structural barriers that are preventing them from accessing key markets outside Lebanon.”
“Our support to SMEs is critical for the growth of small businesses, and Lebanon’s sustainable economic recovery. Accessing the U.S. market is only one step towards achieving this goal and we look forward to replicating this model across other markets,” she said.
This initiative is part of the bigger regional project that UNDP initiated in 2017, the Strengthening Arab Economic Integration for Sustainable Development (AEISD), aiming to further economic cooperation, stability, and the inclusiveness of women and youth in job creations in the region.