The government under a scheme would provide US$ 10 million as grant to diversify and boost country’s export.
To this end, Commerce Ministry’s Export Competitiveness for Jobs (EC4J) Project with the support of World Bank (WB) is seeking applications from prospective firms for the grants to be used to improve their capacity in making products for overseas markets, said officials.
The project is designed to enhance the growth and competitiveness of four sectors and to create more and better job opportunities in leather and leather goods, footwear, light engineering products and plastics.
One of the components of the EC4J is the Export Readiness Fund (ERF), a $10 million matching-grant programme, which provides financial support to firms to identify gaps, catalyse investment and improve environmental, social and quality (ESQ) standards, and thus improve competitiveness on the export markets.
Launched in January, the ERF began providing support to Bangladeshi firms with ESQ compliance assessments under its funding Window-1. The funds will today roll out the Window-2 and Window-3, according to a media invitation.
Under the Window-2, the maximum grant size is $ 40,000 and it would be used to make improvement in business and technical services. Forty percent of the project cost would have to come from the firms.
The Window-3 would provide up to $ 200,000 and will cover the improvement projects in both services and fixed asset expenditures,with half coming from the entrepreneurs.
The fund would be rolled out at a virtual programme today.
The new windows will support the up-gradation of production plants,equipment and services, and help improve the design and quality of products so they are ready for exports. They will also support marketing and distribution to promote ESQ compliance and secure ESQ certification.
The Window-1 aims to fund ESQ assessments for 400 companies. It has already signed agreements with 165 companies and is in the process of signing deals with 183 more companies.
Some 200 firms would receive support under the Window-2 and another 50 under the Window-3.
ERF grants are assisting firms to identify and address ESQ compliance gaps, upgrade products and production process and support firms to meet trade standards. This will be done in order to comply with the laws and regulations of major export markets and requirements of multinational brands, according to the website of the fund, according to an official of the EC4J Project.
The fund will cover a period of three years.