Access to Markets
To improve SME competitiveness, it is especially important to gain a better understanding of the fundamentals and challenges in a given sector, as well as the functions and roles played by each market actor involved.
This approach explores the limits and opportunities inherent in existing market systems. The starting point for interventions is a detailed analysis of market actors and their roles, the prevailing formal and informal rules of the system, and how these factors all relate. These analyses reveal how the market functions for the poor and which interventions are necessary to create new opportunities for them.
Interventions focus on both the supply and demand side of a given sector. Market improvements allow people to participate so that they are ultimately able to improve their livelihoods. In this way, inclusive markets create jobs and ensure that essential goods and services are available to the poor.
Swisscontact’s role as a facilitator
To avoid becoming market actors ourselves, Swisscontact only plays a facilitative role in such projects. Instead of directly implementing activities, we bring together local market actors to do it themselves. Thus, Swisscontact does not play any active role in the market. For this reason, interventions always must cater to the local conditions. Only in this way can they continue to be implemented after Swisscontact’s exit from the picture.
Swisscontact has helped develop the inclusive markets approach, also known internationally as “M4P” (Making Markets Work for the Poor).