There can be applications for three types of grants.
Lot 1: Support to cluster and value chain development
Actions under the ‘early growth’ stage will support projects developing linking between enterprises and support organisations:
- Preparation and start-up implementation of the cluster strategy and the corresponding strengthening of the cluster’s organisational and information management structures and arrangements (including the appointment and training of a cluster development agent and investment in ICT infrastructure);
- A Study involving cluster participants that analyses the cluster strategy and rationale, including the preparation and validation of cluster action plans;
- Support to networking among associate companies and institutions, establishment of platform of dialogue and interaction inclusive of other cluster members. Also, technical support (research/analysis, technical assistance) and training support relating to the development of broker and network agencies: Special attention is paid to encouraging local people engaged in the same cluster to meet together to enable business development opportunities;
- Promotion of public-private dialogue and partnership and strengthening of linkages between cluster firms and support institutions with the objective to foster the emergence of an offer of services/assistance that matches the cluster needs;
- Technical support (technical assistance, research/analysis) and training support for promotional activities and marketing of the cluster. Once a cluster has been identified and it starts developing, there are opportunities to promote it and attract supporting investment as well as promoting business opportunities externally for cluster members;
- Technical support (feasibility study, technical assistance) relating to the development of potential projects of joint research and for joint production/purchase/retail and other business activities within the cluster;
- Technical support (feasibility study, technical assistance) relating to the further evolution of the strategy for cluster growth; and
- Investment in information and communication infrastructure.
Lot 1 [b]: Intensive growth and Consolidation Stage
Actions under the ‘intensive growth and consolidation’ stage will consist of projects supporting and promoting the induction of new products, technology and companies/spin-offs and the internationalisation of networks/clusters/value chains:
- Actions supporting the development of new products which allows firms in a cluster to expand beyond their local markets and increase their revenue and network. In ideal circumstances firms will take these products into export markets thereby utilizing standards and new technologies. In joining the global economy a firm opens up its opportunities many fold;
- Technical and training support relating to the development of broker and network agencies: Special attention is paid to encouraging local people engaged in the same cluster to meet together to enable business development opportunities;
- Technical and training support relating to the further expansion of the cluster strategy and its organisational/management structures and arrangements, including developing linkages between larger and local networks/clusters or vice versa and the internationalisation of networks/clusters;
- Technical and training support relating to joint research: institutions of higher learning can undertake research that benefit all in the cluster;
- Technical and training support relating to the development of cluster-focused public procurement and local purchasing agreements. The public sector is often the largest buyer in a city and as such there are opportunities to enable local businesses to access tender processes more easily. It is often difficult for small businesses in a cluster to bid for large government contracts;
- Technical and training support relating to providing cluster specific information: One of the most effective ways of developing a cluster is to gather information about businesses and institutional support systems in the cluster and then produce it so that it can be shared. Thereafter, with a small amount of effort, supplier linkages can be developed. These do not need to be sophisticated;
- Technical and training support relating to the development of demand-led skills and education training programmes and business development services: A significant benefit to developing a cluster initiative is that a key outcome of business networking will be an appreciation of skills needs in the sector. Skills development training can be done in situ or through workshops and seminars. The best training can be through informal apprenticeships or attachments, where small firms send workers to larger firms to be trained through on-the-job training;
- Technical support relating to specific joint research/Research and Technical Development Infrastructure (RTDI) and joint production projects and in support of promotional activities and the marketing of these projects. Too often firms produce only for a limited local market with little hope of expansion in income and employment. The development of new products allows firms to undertake market research on a local, regional and international level. With this comes an increase in revenues, innovation, technology and best practise;
- Technical and training support relating to improving the management and financial practises of firms, especially family-owned businesses. When firms make improvements through equipment and technology it is also essential that they improve the way they manage their operations through “best management practices” from personnel management, financial management, production scheduling, inventory control and product delivery;
- Technical and training support relating to the packaging and labelling of products in an appropriate manner so that they conform to international or at least national standards. This is essential for a firm to grow. Training programs are available for firms interested in upgrading this aspect of their operations;
- Investments in standards and certification: it is universally recognized that to gain entry to and expand in markets, especially overseas, standards and certification are essential. It is important for smaller firms, especially in sectors that are export orientated and extremely sensitive to quality, to have these standards in training and certification; and
- Investment in information and communication infrastructure.
Activities that generate positive spillovers for the cluster at large and that present the highest potential for replicability are encouraged.
Component 2: Support to skills development of Business Intermediary Organisations
- Technical support and training support relating to the further development of the business/sector association with respect to its cluster brokering capacity as well as advocacy and lobbying actions to improve the regulatory and legislative business environment for their members.
- Technical support and training support relating to the further development of the business/sector association with respect to its networking capacity and the creation of information links and exchange of matchmaking opportunities with other national, regional and/or European business intermediaries.
- Technical and training support relating to the further development of the business/sector association with respect to its actions to achieve financial self-sustainability.
- Technical support training support relating to the further development of the business/sector association with respect to the development of effective public-private sector dialogues.
- Technical support and training support relating to the further development of the business/sector association with respect to its actions to develop business development services for its members.
- Technical support and training support relating to the further development of the business/sector association with respect to encouraging and providing services for social enterprises that introduce innovative models to address social and/or environmental objectives to improve the lives of the Bangladeshi poor through new or value-added economic opportunities which are also financially viable.
- NB: When proposing any actions for financing, applicants must consider the following obligations in relation to some of the actions:
Applicants must demonstrate in their application that planned actions will create a positive benefit (public value added) in terms of economic and social gains, and that such benefits are substantive in relation to the amount of the planned investment (cost-benefit assessment). Please refer to the Project Cycle Management Guidelines annexed to these guidelines.
Types of activity
The grant aid available can be used to support the following types of activities:
|Technical assistance||Exchange of information and experience, expert counselling and advice, training, coaching, trade fairs and study tours|
|Procurement of services and equipment||Acquisition of information and materials, production of publications and visibility materials, organisation of seminars, conferences, purchase of equipment|
|Infrastructure||Infrastructure works contracts and equipment and materials procurement, supervision and site monitoring, planning documentation|
|Project & partnership Management||Provision of staff for project management and monitoring, planning and coordination; publicity and visibility management; partnership formation and development and management|
A strong application is likely to combine a number of the above mentioned activities in a clear and consistent manner and in varying combinations.