In Jordan, many MSEs are not linked to business networks or receive any form of business support, whether through training, technical, or financial assistance. This lack of linkages stifles their growth, and prevents them from acquiring the necessary skills or connections to develop their business further.
Business service providers (BSPs), including business associations, NGOs and other organizations that offer services to other businesses need to increase their outreach to MSEs, especially those that operate outside of Amman. Many suffer from a lack of funds and personnel needed to improve their outreach and services, and lack of knowledge about the needs of these MSEs.
For example, there are approximately 51 voluntary-membership business associations in Jordan that represent around 40,000 micro and small enterprises (MSEs). About half of those 51 registered business associations are inactive and those that remain active lack dynamism and capacity. They require support to better serve the business needs of their members and serve as the voice of small business in the policymaking process.
USAID LENS Work
USAID LENS is working to improve business associations through various ways in order to better support MSEs. Integration of policy work will be embedded from the beginning by including policy advocacy as one of the services that needs to be offered by the associations. The project aims to also strengthen business associations and other BSPs in its target areas and sectors by supporting them in: making their sectors more competitive, improving the services they offer for MSEs, meeting international quality standards, facilitation of clusters creation and negotiations and mediation services.
Additionally, USAID LENS is supporting BSPs and local institutions to launch entrepreneurship and MSE acceleration programs in the project’s target governorates. These programs will include: entrepreneurship training, business planning, business skills, technical skills, legal services, access to finance, business development services, market development, networking, etc.
- After over 10 years of unavailing efforts, a grant from USAID LENS helped to establish the Jordanian Beekeepers Association in the northern part of Jordan. The formation of an official association will formalize work in one of the project’s target sectors and will help to solve many problems including pesticide toxicity to bees, regulating and testing the production of honey, and directly address ongoing issues such as honey laundering scams.
Launched three grant mechanisms over the course of 2014 and 2015 inviting business service providers to submit proposals that can be funded by USAID LENS. The following are a few of the BSPs that we are supporting through grants to help them improve their services offered to MSEs in Jordan: Jordan Society of Tourism & Travel Agents (JSTA), Kinanah Cooperative Association for Women, Jordan Marketing Information Zone and Levant Local Community Development LLC.