Bolivia Digna y Productiva, a project that boosted and strengthened Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in Bolivia
After 2 years of implementation, the project managed to strengthen the market ecosystem actors in the selected intervention sectors by addressing the barriers that prevent MSMEs from improving their productivity, competitiveness, access to markets and global supply chains.
La Paz – Bolivia Digna y Productiva is a development cooperation project implemented by the ILO Office for the Andean Countries from October 2019 to December 2021 with funding from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SECO). The project focused on supporting Bolivian micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to improve the conditions that enhance their competitiveness, sustainability and growth.
The Project's strategy has been framed around two results: the first revolved around fostering sustainability of the SCORE Programme – Sustaining Competitive and Responsible Enterprises in the country, and the second focused on expanding support services to promote the internationalization and formalization of Bolivian MSMEs.
The Project focused its intervention on priority sectors based on the Market Systems Approach for Decent Work developed by the ILO's "The Lab" project. Based on two rapid market assessments carried out before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Andean grains, tourism and coffee sectors were identified for the implementation of project interventions.
Additionally, thanks to the digitalization of the SCORE Programme’s available services –ILO’s SCORE methodology–, the project has been able to expand its interventions to enterprises in the cities of La Paz, Cochabamba, Santa Cruz, Beni, Oruro and Tarija.
The interventions focused on 4 strategic areas, obtaining the following results:
Knowledge generation and dissemination
- A sectoral prioritization was carried out through two Rapid Market Assessments developed before (2019) and between 2020-21 during the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in the selection of the following value chains for intervention: Andean grains, tourism, and coffee. In addition, complementary diagnostics were developed in these sectors to deepen the understanding of the COVID-19 challenges and to structure potential interventions in line with the project's expected outcomes.
Strengthening constituents and social actors
- Three major capacity building processes were carried out, benefiting 263 representatives of employers’, workers’ and government organizations (60% of which were women). The topics included: i) Support measures for MSMEs during the COVID-19 crisis; ii) Business continuity and reactivation; and iii) Creation of market factsheets: Practical application of business intelligence tools.
Capacity building at the local level
- The SCORE Training offer was adapted and digitalized for business resilience and recovery, with emphasis on biosafety and occupational safety and health, as well as strengthening knowledge on export steps for companies in the Andean grains and coffee sector.
- The SCORE package for micro and small enterprises (MSEs) - Mejora Continua was digitized to support business development and resilience in the manufacturing sector and reach a wider outreach of MSEs through a virtual format.
- Two programmes to strengthen management capacities (IMPULSA Mentoring) and access to markets (RE-Actívate) were implemented for young entrepreneurs, mainly women, as a creative response to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. These programmes were designed and rolled-out in alliance with strategic partners.
- In collaboration with SECO, the ILO held a series of webinars called Development and adaptation of small economic units in Bolivia: Good management practices and prospects for post-COVID-19 socioeconomic reactivation with decent work opportunities.
By the end of 2021, transition plans have been generated towards SCORE Phase IV of SCORE in the country (2022-2023), which aims to consolidate the achievements and lessons learned from the Bolivia Digna y Productiva project (2019-2021) into the future. This will be achieved through the following guidelines: i) strengthening and renewal of alliances with strategic partners; ii) building the capacities of implementing partners to deliver SCORE in a sustainable manner; iii) designing solutions based on linking MSMEs with national and global supply chains; and iv) ensuring that interventions are geared towards promoting greener, fairer and more resilient business environments.