INSPIRED, empowering SMEs in Bangladesh

Technical assistance for the capacity building of the national SME support infrastructure and the preparation of the Bangladeshi national SME development strategy as well as the management of the SME competitiveness grant scheme.

Reference: EuropeAid/130016/C/SER/BD, Programme Components 1 and 2b

This Technical Assistance (TA) program was aimed at ensuring, under the Component 1, that an adequate policy and strategy for the SME development is established and that that key institutions, such as the Small and Medium Enterprise Cell (SMEC) of the Ministry of Industries (MoI) and the Small and Medium Enterprise Foundation (SMEF), have adequate capacity and clear roles and responsibilities to support the SME development. Furthermore, under the Component 2, the program aimed at strengthening some of the Business Intermediary Organizations, thus, allowing them to better support their members, increase their membership and work upon behalf of their sector, and support private sector development, in particular facilitate the development of dynamic clusters with efficient backward and forward linkages.

The program included:

  • a multi-sectoral and inter-ministerial national strategy and action plan for theSME development, addressing all aspects of SME support, including improvements in the business environment in line with accepted international best practice
  • a strengthened national capacity to plan and implement SME development
  • an effective SME networking mechanisms aimed at sharing best practices
  • the SME Competitiveness Grant Scheme of €6.5m to business intermediary organisations in the following sectors: agro-processing, natural fibres, leather, plastics, light engineering, electronics, furniture and textiles
  • a support to clusters by using value chain development initiatives that seek to increase the SME competitiveness in agreed sectors and provide capacity building to business intermediary organisations (BIOs) in lobbying, advocacy, networking, public-private sector dialogue and the provision of business development services (BDS) to their members.

Anteja led the development of the SME Cluster Development Policy, promoting linkages, networks and clustering of SMEs on a sector-specific basis. This included advice on the value chain development, training for policymakers and the SME Foundation staff, benchmarking of cluster related organisations, institutional needs assessment analysis for cluster development, development of Cluster Strategy and financial support mechanisms.

INSPIRED was funded by the EU and the Government of The People’s Republic of Bangladesh. The contracting authority was the Ministry of Industries, the main beneficiary. Other beneficiaries were the SME Foundation and the Bangladesh Bank. The programme is aimed at supporting the development of SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) in Bangladesh.

Partners: BMB Mott McDonald BV (NL), Formaper, Agency of Milan Chamber of Commerce (IT), International Development Ireland Ltd (IE)

Client: European Commission

Date: 2012 – 2016

EU Interreg Clusterix 2.0

EU Interreg Clusterix 2.0

Contributing to the implementation of the Smart Specialization Strategies through clusters and value chains

EU Interreg Clusterix 2.0 addressed the improvement of regional innovation policies by making a better use of clusters. The evaluation was based on benchmarking that explored the role of the regional cluster excellence portfolio to provide inputs for development and testing innovation models. Assignment included documentary review and analysis of key features of Smart Specializations Strategies and cluster programs. It also involved analysis of the policy making process, the program development and the implementation process against regional economic objectives and benchmarking of selected clusters. Additional activities consisted of preparation and implementation of interviews, peer review workshops and identification of good practice and tools for the S3 implementation via clusters.

Date: 2016

Project’s website

Bridge to Boston: cross-Atlantic value chains in medical technology clusters

Helping Boston based businesses in medical technology to identify value chain opportunities related to intermediate and final markets.

With this project, Anteja assisted DELIVER, Business Development Office of the Mannheim Medical Technology Cluster in its international outreach. With DELIVER and selected companies in the Mannheim cluster being well-positioned to pursue opportunities for technology development collaborations, inward investment and US market access, Boston was identified as one of the priority cities with which to establish reciprocal relations. Focused on Boston-based businesses in the medical technology area to identify value-chain opportunities associated with intermediate and final markets. Assignment included documentary review, elaboration of value proposition for companies in the Mannheim Medical Technology cluster. Additional activities included analysis of the cluster environment and institutional settings in Mannheim and training for cluster members on how to successfully initiate business in the Boston area.

Client: DELIVER, Business Development Office of the Mannheim Medical Technology Cluster

Date: 2016

Poly4emI, developing innovation policies for biopolymer industry

The project contributed to Slovenian innovation policy with a new policy model for a more systemic approach to stimulate the development of the biopolymer industry. 

Poly4EmI was established in 2013 and it became a cluster coordinating and supporting entity in Slovenia, working closely with the Ministry of Regional Development and Ministry of Science in Slovenia. Poly4EmI tested and applied the Cluster Management Excellence approach for clusters in emerging Industries and new value chains. It developed a variety of new services to be offered by cluster organizations to support industrial transformation.

Poly4EmI also indicates that Slovenia has been excluded from cluster development related initiatives at EC level and globally for a decade. Consequently, dedicated attention has been given to internationalization of clusters and proactive participation at EC cluster excellence initiatives. Poly4EmI successfully evolved in Poly4EmI cluster internationalization platforms that bundled and coordinated effort of traditional and new clusters and operated at a macro-regional level, such as Alpine Space, Danube and Adriatic regions, EU, US and Africa. Poly4EmI supported the implementation of SRIPs – Strategic Research and Innovation Partnerships in Slovenia. SRIPs are key institutions for implementation of Smart Specializations Strategy. All of them put clusters and cluster excellence in the core of industrial transformation and creation of new value chains. Poly4EmI promoted Cluster Excellence and ECEI approach and was nominated by the Ministry of Science to act as a regional partner for ECEI.

Poly4EmI addressed the challenges of Slovenian innovation policy through developing a new policy model for a more systemic approach to stimulate the development of the biopolymer industry. The existing policies and policy instruments do not provide the framework conditions for the biopolymer industry and clusters to develop at scale and speed required to address the bio-based material needs of bioeconomy. This calls for policy makers to play a more active role than in the past in setting suitable framework conditions to support cluster dynamic and new forms of international and cross-regional cooperation models.

The Slovenian Ministry of Education, Science and Sports led the consortium composed by:

Anteja worked with the Automotive Cluster in Slovenia and provided the following services:

  • advice on overall project design and implementation
  • design and implementation of peer review and stress test with peer regions/clusters
  • conducted the benchmarking of clusters, and facilitated cross-cluster cooperation to create new business opportunities
  • international cross-cluster platform
  • inputs for road mapping.

Partners: ​​Slovenian Ministry of Education, Science and Sport, Center of Excellence POLIMAT, Polymer Competence Center Leoben, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia

Client: Automotive Cluster Slovenia

Date: 2014 – 2016

Private sector development in Egypt

A project aimed to develop the Egyptian private sector and to link industry with academia.

The project identified tools and actions that can be implemented by innovation intermediaries to better support innovation and value chains. An initial appraisal of interactions between academia and industry in Egypt was conducted, followed by an overview of selected innovation intermediaries. It was followed by interviews with selected innovation intermediaries’ representatives to generate some of the patterns and intensity of interactions within the Egyptian ecosystem. The workshop with TICs and TICOs opened the discussion on the role of both in the Egyptian industry and innovation ecosystem. Attention was given to how to address new challenges (food security, health, and environment) since solutions for such challenges require new ways of collaborations among various actors and in particular cooperation between academia and industry.

Client: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

Date: 2015

Global Biopolymer Network (GBN)

A project that builds on the transformative power of biopolymers that hold the potential to tackle global challenges and contribute to solving major environmental problems in developing countries.

One of the most pressing global challenges we are facing today is how to leverage the power of new knowledge spread over the globe and regions to help to address the global economic and environmental challenges. New forms of international innovation networks are required, since no single place or a single cluster could  possibly host all necessary competencies to assure regions and companies to stay at the forefront of the new global value chain.

The Global Biopolymer Network builds on the transformative power of biopolymers, since they hold great potential to tackle global challenges and at the same time contribute to the efforts of solving major environmental problems in developing countries. Biopolymer applications emerge from scientific, technological and engineering approaches, which require new forms of international science and technological collaboration.

The Global Biopolymer Network supports cross-sectorial linkages and brings together scientific and technological know-how of developed countries and abundant resources and talents from developing countries around the idea of transformative power of biopolymers and biomaterials.

GBN’s members were:

These institutions provided support for the development of a biopolymer based platform. Two biopolymer workshops (Biopolymer workshop at JKUAT – Jomo Kenyatta  University for Agriculture and Technology, Nairobi, Kenya, Biopolymer workshop at CBBR – Centre for Biomedical and Biomaterials Research (CBBR), Mauritius). Additionally, various multilateral meetings were organized by GBN, in which many diplomatic community representatives took an active role.

Services provided:

  • enabling leadership in biopolymer development initiatives
  • identification of biopolymer potential in addressing  global challenges
  • identification of research and innovation fields with potential for transnational collaboration
  • design biopolymer workshops and facilitation  of first such workshop  at the JKUAT, Nairobi Kenya and second one at ANDI, Mauritius
  • facilitation of the design of research and innovation agenda: Biopolymers for Human Well Being program.

Project’s publication:

CE PoliMaT. (2013). Biopolymer Workshop Mauritius,

Improving innovation and competitiveness in Mauritius

Setting up innovation policy and improving competitiveness of scientific industries in Mauritius.

This project was a follow-up activity of the Biopolymer Workshop ‘Setting-up of a bio-based industry in Mauritius’ organised by CBBR in May 2013. The need to establish an innovation policy was recommended as a top priority for Mauritius. The main aim of the ANIS Workshop is to provide a neutral screening of the current status of the entire Mauritian Innovation System and its main determinants for the emergence of “Knowledge- Based Industries” (ex: Agricultural Biotech, Ocean Industry, Life Industry…). A sufficient understanding of these determinants and how they can be addressed in the future for further improvements is very important in order to assure long-term competitiveness and innovation capability of all the key stakeholders and actors of the Mauritian innovation system. 

Partners: VDI/VDE-IT, Centre of Excellence for Biomedical and Biomaterials Research (CBBR)
Client: The World Bank Group
Date: 2014

Final publication:

World Bank Group. (June, 2015). Mauritius, a systematic country diagnostic.

Establishing a biopolymer Center of Excellence at JKUAT

Establishing a biopolymer Center of Excellence at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT)

Development of strategy and action plan to harness the power of biopolymers to improve human wellbeing and enhance global competitiveness.

Project was conducted in cooperation with COMESA, Nairobi Kenya, involved the development of a strategy and action plan involving mentors, collaborative teams to select areas of engagement, biopolymer workshops, consultation and finalization of specific actions and budgets. A strategy was developed titled: “Harnessing the power of biopolymers to improve human wellbeing and enhance global competitiveness”. The biopolymer workshops were implemented. Experts from Anteja’s global network helped to enable the formation of ABCe.


Client: JKUAT

Date: 2013


Project’s website reference

Analysing horticulture products‘ value chains in Azerbaijan

As part of the IFC’s Azerbaijan Investment Climate Project, the project aimed to improve the business and investment environment in Azerbaijan’s high potential agribusiness sub-sectors.

The overall objective of the project was to contribute to the improvement of the business and investment environment in Azerbaijan’s high potential agribusiness sub-sectors in a manner that enhances development, competitiveness, employment and business opportunities in these sub-sectors. The approach involved  assessing present performance and revealing key binding constraints present along the value chains that prevent growth and further development of these sub-sectors. The project contributed to the overall objectives of the Azerbaijan Investment Climate Project (AZIC II), which broadly aims at supporting the diversification of the Azerbaijan economy and improvement of the regulatory framework, focusing on areas of strategic importance for both the government and the private sector.

Services provided:

  • Rapid analysis of the horticultural sector in Azerbaijan in order to assess the horticulture products or product groups and select two to three high-potential ones for a detailed exploration in the following stages of the project. Pomegranate, tomato and hazelnuts have been selected as the most promising products.
  • Value chain analysis of selected products: the main objective was to assess how well pomegranate, tomato and hazelnuts value chains perform in order to identify segments and activities where poor performance or inefficiencies severely undermine the competitiveness of the entire value chain.
  • Identification of key binding constraints, ranking the constraints and in-depth analysis of the binding constraints.
  • Recommendations for specific actions (first and high priority actions for short and mid-term period) to remove the identified binding (sector-specific) obstacles and enhance the value chains’ ability to improve performance, productivity and investment.

Client: The World Bank Group, IFC

Date: 2013 -2014

Assessing agribusiness value chains in Bosnia and Herzegovina

The project formed part of the IFC’s Bosnia Investment Climate Project and its objective was to contribute to the competitiveness of most promising agribusiness value chains (fruits & vegetables, meat, dairy).

The project contributed to the overall objective of the Bosnia Investment Climate Project, implemented by the IFC. The main goal was to increase the competitiveness of Bosnia and Herzegovina by assisting the authorities at all four levels in the country to reduce the administrative burden for business, increase exports in key export sectors, attract more FDI, and finally, to achieve investment climate reform and assure Bosnia and Herzegovina a successful process for joining the EU. The overall objective was to improve competitiveness of the three most promising agribusiness value chains (fruits & vegetables, meat and dairy) and entities by assessing their present competitiveness and determining the main barriers and constraints which prevent those agribusiness sectors from being more competitive in the international market.

Services provided:

  • Rapid analysis of the agribusiness sector as a whole in order to validate the selection of the three priority agribusiness value chains – fruits & vegetables, meat and dairy – as the most competitive agribusiness sectors.
  • Initial Sector Competitiveness Appraisal and Comparison in order to identify latent competitive advantages that can be turned into a manifest competitive advantage.
  • Detailed industry-level competitive analysis in order to:
    • assess the performance gaps and potential throughout the VC for each of the priority sectors
    • identify policy and regulatory constraints determining the performance gaps and prevent each value chain from reaching its full potential in terms of productivity increases, exports, investments and job creation.
  • Ranking the constraints within value chains
  • Identifying the value chains with strongest competitiveness potential in both entities and in Bosnia and Herzegovina as a whole.
  • Detailed assessment of the three value chains and recommendations for specific actions for the most competitive value chain per entity.

Client: The World Bank Group, IFC

Date: 2012 – 2013

Project’s final publication:

World Bank Group. (April, 2015). Bosnia and Herzegovina Partnership: Country Program Snapshot.