ENTERPRISE Zambia Challenge Fund supports the achievement of the EU’s Farm to Fork Strategy, one of the cornerstones of the European Green Deal, and the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030 by funding business investments that improve the sustainability of agro-food systems. ENTERPRISE Zambia Challenge Fund will increase investment in agriculture (including agroforestry and aquaculture) by providing grants to support agribusinesses who have the potential to integrate smallholder farmers in the market-integrated and nutrition sensitive value chains. The Fund will seek to invest in actions that will enable SMEs and smallholders to transition to greener and more sustainable agri-food systems and tackle the challenges presented by Covid-19. This will generate employment opportunities, particularly for women and youth.

ENTERPRISE Zambia Challenge Fund will target between 35 and 45 small and medium enterprises (agri-businesses, cooperatives, associations and other value chain actors) who can reach to at least 150,000 smallholder farmers. The ENTERPRISE Zambia Challenge Fund is implemented in parallel with a European Investment Bank (EIB) credit facility and EU funded programme “Technical Assistance and Financial Instrument support for Zambia Agriculture Value Chain Facility” implemented by EIB which will be disbursed through qualifying Zambian financial institutions (commercial banks, micro finance institutions, etc.).

Self Help Africa, with Imani Development, are the fund managers for ENTERPRISE Zambia Challenge Fund, a five-year agribusiness support initiative that will invest €26m in the sector over five years (2020 – 2025). This project is also supported by Zambia’s Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock and the Ministry of Finance as the National Authorising Officer. The project is part of the EU’s ‘Support to the Sustainable Commercialisation of Zambia’s Smallholder Farmers Programme’. Three call for proposals will be launched in the lifetime of the project.
• Call 1 of the ENTERPRISE Zambia project closed in October, 2020.
• Call 2 of the ENTERPRISE Zambia project will open end of April 2021.
• Call 3 of the ENTERPRISE Zambia project will be launched in Quarter 3, 2021.

The financial support from Enterprise Zambia Challenge Fund is in the form of matching grants. The challenge fund will award financial support to cover a maximum of
50 per cent of the total value of the proposal, with the applicant matching the balance (i.e. the difference between the total value of the proposal and the amount requested as financial support). The fund will award €20.8m which will be spread out in 3 separate calls, approximately €7 million per call. From this €20.8m, about €6m is dedicated to aquaculture projects over the 3 calls.
Size of financial support:
Minimum amount: EUR 150,000
Maximum amount: EUR 1,000,000

In order to be eligible for a grant, the lead applicant must comply with all the criteria listed below:
Must be an agri-enterprise involved in the production of farming inputs, food and fibre, ranching and raising of livestock, aquaculture, agroforestry or other farming and agricultural related industries. Examples of relevant agro-food enterprises include but are not limited to: companies involved in agricultural, agroforestry or aquaculture production including agro-input suppliers, contract farming, agroforestry, agro-food processors, agriculture logistics and aggregation services, agriculture technology suppliers including breeders and farm machinery.
Must be incorporated in Zambia as a company or a cooperative.
Must be compliant with all national and local laws and regulations; including meeting all obligations relating to the payment of taxes and social security contribution and relevant health and safety and environmental standards.
Must be a for-profit entity. Must demonstrate experience in the project proposal for current or future integration of smallholder farmers/fish farmers in existing or new value chain(s) in the project’s areas.

The business must have at least three (3) years of uninterrupted operations in Zambia at the date of application, with focus on eligible agriculture, livestock, agroforestry or aquaculture sectors (see above for more specific examples).
Must have a yearly turnover for the last two (2) years of at least EUR 150,000 as evidenced by audited accounts. Must be able to contribute at least 50% of the project cost through a blend of cash and cash equivalents, credit or equity from own or first-party sources.
Must have three years of financial statements including audited accounts for the two (2) most recent years plus management accounts for the first year. The audited accounts should have been prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) by an accountant accredited by the Zambia Institute of Certified Accountants (ZICA). Must be directly responsible for the preparation and management of the action with the implementing partners, not acting as an intermediary. The lead applicant must meet all the eligibility criteria in its own right and will be held accountable for the implementation of the action including the management and accountability of the implementing partner(s). Therefore, applicants are encouraged to carefully vet their implementing partners to ensure they are operating legally in line with the laws of Zambia and have the capacity to fulfil the role outlined in the proposed project. For more information regarding the Enterprise Zambia Challenge Fund, please visit the website (www.enterprisezambia.org) or email info@enterprisezambia.org.