Who We Are

The Tanzania Local Enterprise Development (T-LED) project supports local small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) to overcome existing barriers, with particular attention paid to the additional challenges faced by female-headed SMEs, in accessing growth markets in the associated value-chains of the agribusiness and extractive sectors, while enhancing the quality and coordination of market-driven business development services.

The project brings together the private sector, civil society and government to encourage a more equitable and market-driven distribution of resources. The project seeks not only to reduce economic leakage and keep more of the value chain and income generation within Tanzania, but also to specifically ensure that more women and men may benefit from these growth markets. T-LED is managed by VSO and Cuso International with support from Global Affairs Canada (GAC).

The overall goal of the T-LED project is enhanced equitable and sustainable economic growth and prosperity for women and men in the Mtwara, Lindi, Mwanza (ext. to Shinyanga and Kahama) and Iringa regions of Tanzania.

Where We Work

Funded by Global Affairs Canada, the project supports local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to overcome existing barriers in these 4 regions:
  • 1. Mwanza
  • 2. Iringa
  • 3. Lindi
  • 4. Mtwara

Our Process

Step 1: Business Development Services Framework (BDSF)

The BDSF provides a staged and iterative approach to working with SMEs. It is designed to ensure full engagement and participation with and from the SME and aims to develop a tailored plan and approach to meet individual needs.


SME Initiation


SME Detailed Analysis


BDS Program Planning


BDS Program Delivery


BDS Program Completion


Monitoring, Evaluation, Reporting and Learning (MERL)


SME Initial Assessment Form (Self Assessment & Selection Criteria)


SME Company Profile and Gap Assessment Tool


SME Scorecard


SME Development Plan Template


Memorandum of Understanding/Letter of Intent Template

Step 2: Access to Technology

T-LED will establish a technology innovation fund that SMEs can apply for through a competitive bidding process. These inputs, whether they be machinery or computer programs, are essential for some SMEs to increase productivity and profitability.

The technology innovation fund available for SMEs include financial reporting systems, IT products, mobile phone solutions or machinery that supports the technical capacity of the business.

Overall, the technology innovation fund will be flexible and responsive to the needs of the SMEs and consider a range of requests.

SMEs will be able to apply for technology from a preselected and pre-negotiated technology catalogue. The list will be populated based on identified common technology needs of SMEs and value-chain suitability and bolstering.

Procurement: As much as possible, the project aims at procuring technology from SIDO’s Technology Development Centres (TDC) that locally manufacture equipment and technology for SMEs. By procuring from TDC whenever appropriate, the project aims at strengthening the local supply chain and creating a wider market opportunity for the TDCs.

Revolving fund scheme: To encourage responsibility for care and maintenance of the technology and to cultivate ownership, SMEs will be required to pay back 40% of the value of the technology.

Step 3: Access to Finance

T-LED engages financial service providers to support SMEs financially

Financial Alliance for Sustainable Trade (FAST) has been subcontracted under T-LED to complement the access to finance component of the project. Though FAST will serve T-LED SMEs, Tier 1 SMEs would be the only ones most likely to meet the requirements of FAST investors. The project has therefore engaged other Financial Service Providers to support SMEs. This includes banks in Tanzania (NMB, CRDB), Microfinance Institutions, asset based financing institutions, investors (impact investors) in East Africa, and partners with SME financing and loan schemes (MEDA).