Poverty reduction through SME-Promotion (Mercados Rurales)

In Bolivia, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) contribute approximately 35% to gross domestic product. Compared with other countries, this proportion is rather small, although they employ around 93% of the workforce. According to estimates, in the past 15 years, 8 out of 10 new jobs in Bolivia have been created by SMEs. It is primarily people from lower social classes and rural areas that have benefited from this.

The Project

The project promotes practically-orientated training and consulting services in service centres which offer courses, workshops and advice, primarily covering legal and business management matters.  Forums (trade fairs, meetings, etc.) help to encourage contact with other economic stakeholders, while companies marketing SME products are specifically supported. An improved network of contacts also makes access easier to invitations to tender for public contracts and SMEs are supported with advice about relevant tender procedures.

Thanks to the development and expansion of an officially recognised certification system for products and services, quality is improved, processes are optimised and market opportunities are increased as a result.

All measures are aimed at actual requirements, take into consideration distinctive regional features and, in harmony with government initiatives, result in stimulation of the economy and improvement of general conditions for SMEs.


Achievements of phase I (2013 - 2017)

  • 57 000 small producers (18 000 women) access more and better financial and non-financial services, technology and inputs
  • 14,000 small producers increase their average net income by USD 752/year
  • 19 000 small producers increase their yields by 25%
  • USD 18 million leveraged from public and private institutions, representing more than double the financing of Swiss Cooperation
  • 5,000 small producers had better access to financing (more than USD 5 million of credit granted) and 1,000 have purchased insurance products

Project countries

  • Bolivia

Project duration

2017 - 2021


  • SDC
  • SIDA

Working area


Swiss Foundation for Technical Cooperation
Hardturmstrasse 123
CH-8005 Zurich

Tel. +41 44 454 17 17
Fax +41 44 454 17 97
E-Mail info@STOP-SPAM.swisscontact.org