Palestine—Small and Medium Enterprise Assistance for Recovery and Transition (SMART)

Client: U.S. Agency for International Development

Duration: 2021-2025

Region: Middle East and North Africa

Country: Palestine

Solutions: Economic Growth

Palestinian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have long had to cope with persistent challenges—a local market with limited purchasing power, restrictions on the movement of goods and people, limited access to export markets, and more. The COVID-19 crisis put unanticipated pressure on an already constrained economy. The May 2021 conflict between Israeli forces and Hamas inflicted further damage on the private sector, in Gaza especially.

The Palestine Small and Medium Enterprise Assistance for Recovery and Transition (SMART) project operates in Gaza as well as the West Bank, offering a combination of immediate financial support for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and sustainable systemic strengthening. SMART helps Palestinian SMEs and startups rapidly recover from shocks and put them on a path to revitalization, creating job opportunities for a growing—and young—population.

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Sample Activities

  • Support interventions that facilitate women and youth’s access to employment opportunities.
  • Build firms’ capacity to produce products and services for specific markets with the quality and adherence to standards those markets demand.
  • Connect firms to buyers and buyer networks abroad.
  • Assist startups and SMEs to adopt modern business practices and attain bankable or investment-ready status.
  • Provide targeted institutional and human capacity support to advance a policy agenda to bolster competitiveness and trade.

Select Results

  • Signed 25 contracts with different suppliers and delivered items to hotels that are part of the Hotel Recovery Program. The first recipient was the Retno Hotel in Ramallah, which received hotel amenities including 15 TVs, 45 phones, 15 mini refrigerators, and 30 orthopedic mattresses.
  • Allocated $1.8 million to assist 38 Palestinian-owned hotels, creating 1,000 jobs.
  • Allocated $5.7 million to assist private-sector recovery—$3.2 million of which helped 60 small businesses to develop recovery plans.
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