Bangladesh is among the most densely populated countries in the world. While the country has maintained an impressive track record on growth and development in the last few years, there are still substantial deficits in the access and usage of business-specific knowledge, skills and information. Such deficits are the core reasons for the under-performance and low competitiveness of small enterprises and rural entrepreneurs. Katalyst, one of the largest market development projects in the world, aims to increase the income for men and women in rural areas of Bangladesh. By facilitating changes in services, inputs and product markets, it fosters the competitiveness of poor farmers and small businesses in key rural sectors. Katalyst follows a pro-poor market development approach known as 'Making Markets Work for the Poor' (M4P).
Katalyst's approach is based on the premise that enhanced private and public sector business services and an improved enabling environment lead to more competitive enterprises, sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction.
Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the project was implemented from October 2002-March 2013. By end of Phase 2, Katalyst reached out and contributed to the increased/improved competitiveness of around 2.36 million farmers and small businesses, and increased their income by around USD 295 million.
The portfolio for Phase 3 (2014-2017) consists of three core sectors (vegetable, farmed fish and maize) and three cross sectors (women's economic empowerment, local agri-business networks and information channels).
Following the M4P-approach, which works indirectly, Katalyst focuses on achieving systemic change in order to provide new opportunities for poor people. It facilitates changes in the behaviour of market players (such as private companies and public and private associations) to engage poor people into their businesses as suppliers, distributors, retailers and/or employees, and create more income generating opportunities for the poor. Katalyst identifies and prioritises the constraints and opportunities within the sectors in its portfolio which benefits both companies and the poor with higher profits and increased income respectively thereby, contributing to poverty reduction.
Katalyst is implemented by Swisscontact under the umbrella of the Ministry of Commerce, Bangladesh.
2002 - 2017 (Phase 3: 2014 - 2017)
Swiss Foundation for Technical Cooperation
Tel. +41 44 454 17 17
Fax +41 44 454 17 97
E-Mail info@ swisscontact.org