USAID Competitive Economy Project (Project) includes a Grants Under Contract mechanism with a total available grant fund of up to $1,000,000. Grants will be awarded to non-profit, for-profit, business associations, business service providers, research, and academic organizations, to carry out tasks to address the critical competitiveness challenges in the food processing industry, with a focus on fruit and vegetables (F&V), identified by the Project along with partners and network stakeholders.

The overall objective of the Grants Program is to assist upgrading and advancement of competitive capabilities of F&V processing industry, support Serbian small and medium companies to increase connections to local, regional, and international buyers, and access regional and global markets, and facilitate ongoing performance improvements amongst actors in the selected F&V value chains.

As an illustration, grants could be used to assist SMEs or groups of SMEs (industry associations) to reach product development standards mandated by export markets or specific brands, open new export market opportunities, introduce business and technology innovations, promote new, more innovative ways to improve product marketing and promotion, etc. The Project will award grants that address specific problems and offer practical solutions, encouraging significant cost-share contributions and an analysis of the sustainability of the investment.

Organizations that will be eligible for grants under this program may include:

  • Legally registered Serbia and US-based Organizations (third-country organizations may be considered on a case-by-case basis).
  • Non-profit/NGO, business associations and chambers, regional development agencies, public educational institutions (agricultural faculties, institutes, extension services); Commercial and/or for-profit organizations that understand that no profit or fee will be allowed under the grant agreement;
  • In some cases, Government of Serbia entities may be eligible for grants. Grants to governmental organizations will be used to provide in-kind assistance only. Under any grants awarded to governmental organizations, the Project will conduct all procurement on behalf of the grantee and transfer the equipment as an in-kind donation. The government organizations eligible would include agricultural institutes, university faculties, national and regional development agencies and agricultural extension services.

Eligible organizations must also adhere to the following requirements:

  • Demonstrate an ability to contribute to the objectives of the USAID Competitive Economy Project and perform the activities proposed in accordance with USAID and Cardno policies and practices;
  • Display sound financial, administrative, and technical management in the form of a system of controls that safeguards assets, protects against fraud and waste, and supports the achievement of the award’s objectives;
  • Be legally registered for minimum three years. In the event that the newly founded organization is eligible for grant funding, and it proposes an innovative approach to support the achievement of the USAID Competitive Economy Project objective, it will be taken into consideration for funding on a case by case basis;
  • Sign all mandatory certifications.
  • Understand that no profit will be paid under the grant agreement


Grants and subcontracts are important tool for building key partnerships and networks with stakeholders.  The Project will post solicitation documents on to support technical activities, while building local relationship networks that will lead to more coordinated support for the fruit and vegetables processing industry, performance enhancement of companies and adoption of innovation.