Cultivating Export Opportunities: Agrifood SMEs Ready to Thrive

TraQ End of Capacity Building UNIDO
The ‘TraQ program’ is implemented by UNIDO as part of the broader regional project ‘Enhancing Accreditation Value Chain in the Arab Region’, supported by the Kingdom of Sweden through the Swedish International Development Cooperation (SIDA).

The UNIDO TraQ program paved the way for 20 promising companies to embark on an exciting journey toward export readiness under Lebanon Export Academy. The program at the academy helped equip them with the requisite knowledge and tools enabling them to explore untapped markets confidently. Lebanon Export Academy is the first-of-its-kind academy to equip Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and cooperatives in Lebanon with the needed know-how to scale up their operations and increase their readiness to export. It is implemented by UNIDO and UNDP in partnership with Berytech as part of the Productive Sectors Development Progarmme (PSDP) generously funded by the Government of Canada to revive the agri-food and agriculture sectors in Lebanon. 

The TraQ program has provided the SMEs operating in the agrifood sector with an intensive 36-hour curriculum, using a hybrid learning modality, delivered by experienced trainers from the Lebanon Export Academy. The training has equipped them with profound insights into the intricacies of food export and has positioned them to seamlessly meet future export demands. 

Export Readiness Training Program 

The ‘TraQ program’ is implemented by UNIDO as part of the broader regional project ‘Enhancing Accreditation Value Chain in the Arab Region’, supported by the Kingdom of Sweden through the Swedish International Development Cooperation (SIDA).

“The ‘TraQ’ program was launched in six Arab countries, including Lebanon, in which the program is being implemented in cooperation with the Ministry of Industry. TraQ aims at enhancing competitiveness in the fields of quality and export by providing technical support to improve SMEs’ compliance with regulatory and market requirements as well as enhancing their export readiness, competitiveness, and capacity to enter new markets,” explained Ms. Rouba El Kharrat, UNIDO National Expert on Food SMEs Upgrading.  

The primary objective of this program is to equip SMEs in specific food sub-sectors, namely olives & olive oil, bakeries and confectioneries, and juices, jams, and canned items, with the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate the complex world of food product export. The program, meticulously designed using the established modules of the Lebanon Export Academy, aims to enhance SMEs’ understanding of export requirements, procedures, and regulations. Ultimately, this program seeks to boost their readiness to venture into the global export market. 

Following the training sessions, SMEs will benefit from both training provided through the LMS and personalized coaching sessions tailored to their specific needs, further strengthening their business operations. Each of the trained SMEs will craft a roadmap that will serve as a guiding map on their path toward export readiness. 

An Academy Built to Deliver Export Readiness Training 

“Berytech has forged partnerships with UNDP, UNIDO, and Canada for the Lebanon Export Academy. So far, we have successfully delivered sustainable export readiness capacity-building programs to three cohorts, totaling 80 SMEs. Presently, we are excited to collaborate with UNIDO under the TraQ program to roll out an additional batch of SMEs, further enhancing their export readiness,” commented Chadi Abou Nohra, Director of SME Programs at Berytech. 

Therese Maalouf, Cluster Senior Coordinator, pointed out QOOT’s role in the implementation of the Lebanon Export Academy which highlights one of the cluster’s pillars that focuses on export readiness, “LEA’s role aligns seamlessly with the mission and activities of the cluster. Specifically, we contribute significantly to one of the cluster’s primary pillars, which centers around enhancing access to markets and fostering export readiness. Consequently, we are delighted to report that we have successfully implemented these programs, encompassing the training of four distinct batches including the beneficiaries of the TraQ Programme.  

The Lebanon Export Academy and the QOOT Cluster actively address the critical gaps in export skills and capabilities of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). They achieve this through a robust capacity-building program, which includes comprehensive workshops led by seasoned trainers. These workshops cater to a wide range of participants, from beginners to advanced exporting companies, spanning various productive sectors, with a specific emphasis on supporting women entrepreneurs.  

“After participating in the workshops delivered by UNIDO and the Lebanon Export Academy, we can now confidently state that we have the mindset and expertise to establish an export department. We have covered all the essential aspects, from cost analysis to market research and logistics. We have gained a profound understanding of the export-specific terminology,” affirmed Mohammad Zeidan, co-founder and managing director of Zeidan and Co. 

In addition to the export readiness capacity building and as part of the TraQ program, UNIDO has been valiant in supporting and organizing B2B matchmaking events, enabling new business opportunities among SMEs. These sessions paved the way for thriving collaborations and partnerships thus facilitating SMEs’ access to new markets.

Picture of Mohamad Mortada

Mohamad Mortada

Mohammad Mortada is a multidisciplinary marketer with high-level strategy and hands-on execution expertise. Besides marketing, he enjoys designing brands and building websites for customers across the MENA region.

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