Nutrition Enterprise Development

For over ten years, GAIN has been supporting micro-, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in nutritious food value chains to grow, innovate, and meet the needs of vulnerable consumers.

Over 1000 MSMEs have been supported across nearly all of GAIN’s programme countries and covering input suppliers, primary producers, distributors and wholesalers, as well as retailers. Some example beneficiary companies are featured HERE.

GAIN’s support has included basic business development services, technical assistance for food safety, processing and product formulation, marketing and the like, as well as financial assistance in the form of small grants. (Our non-grant financial support is covered under Nutritious Food Financing [LINK]). Four big projects delivered these interventions:

Implemented in Mozambique, Kenya, Rwanda, and Tanzania from 2013 to 2020, GAIN’s Marketplace for Nutritious Foods Programme focused on supporting SMEs in nutritious food value chains to develop profitable business models and sustainably bring nutritious and safe foods to markets. The Marketplace’s two-pronged approach supports a broad network of stakeholders with information and knowledge, through the “Community of Practice”, while targeted technical and financial support offers  promising, innovative enterprises through the “Innovation Accelerator”.


  • 92,000,000 servings of nutritious foods produced by SMEs, estimated to have reached more than 1 million people.
  • SMEs reported US 1.6 million of private sector investment in nutrition.
  • Over 100 knowledge and learning (community of practice) events of 2,265 participants were organised.
  • 400 SMEs received business development services where 101 companies received tailored technical support in product development and formulation, marketing, business planning.
  • 218 SMEs reported improved technology and management practices. Moreover,
  • 15 companies have increased profit since receiving support from GAIN.

“Keeping Food Markets Working” (KFMW) was set up as an emergency response programme to protect and sustain food systems in the face of COVID-19. It provided rapid support to food system workers,  SMEs supplying nutritious foodsThe 18 months rapid response supported SMEs in Nigeria, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.


  • Provided emergency grants to over 130 SMEs in 8 countries. The support covered operating expenses such as rent, salaries, sales/transport, and raw materials.
  • Provided WASH support to the SUN Business Network (SBN)’s 60 businesses in Mozambique for installation of WASH equipment and training measures to reduce spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.
  • Conducted two online surveys on the impact of COVID on SMEs in nutritious food value chains and disaggregated results by gender.
  • Technical assistance to 42 businesses (28 in Nigeria, 19 being female-owned and 14 in Kenya, 2 being female-owned-owned).
  • 50 women business owners and/or managers in senior management positions trained across eight focus countries.
  • We developed and disseminated SME COVID-19 Guidance videos in focus countries in English, Portuguese, and Swahili.
  • Developed two SME training manuals on business resilience and digital marketing.
  • Supported businesses sold over 50 million additional servings of nutritious foods (fruits, vegetables, animal-source foods (ASFs), biofortified and fortified foods).


In 2016, GAIN and its partners spotted a gap in postharvest loss interventions targeted to a) nutritious foods and b) working in the supply chain beyond the farm. The Postharvest Loss Alliance for Nutrition (PLAN) was launched in Nigeria. While a significant amount of food loss occurs on-farm, many agriculture organisations are making progress with farmers to reduce these losses. PLAN added value by supporting SMEs post-farmgate in Ethiopia, Indonesia, and Nigeria over 5 years (2016 – 2020). It brought together public and private sector actors to collectively reduce loss of nutritious foods, boosting livelihoods of suppliers while increasing availability and affordability of nutritious and safe foods for consumers.


  • Business reach: 981 businesses signed up to GAIN–led alliances and 213 non-private sector member reach. 177 members applied improved PHL technologies
  • 515 PHL innovations identified, 75 of them technically and financially supported.
  • The Indonesia PLAN Alliance was established as a national independent association in 2019 and later became JP2GI.
  • PLAN Nigeria championed the creation of OTACCWA - West Africa’s first Cold Chain Association​.
  • PLAN Ethiopia distributed 19,000 Reusable Plastic Crates
  • Ethiopia’s wholesalers suggest that the loss reduction from using RPCs rather than wooden crates is 50-75%.

Through the Nutrition Impact at Scale (NIS) Project, GAIN partners with Enterprise Support Organisations (ESOs) to scale the impact of its work to increase access to safe and nutritious foods, especially for low-income consumers. Funded by The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands over five years (January 2022 – December 2026), the project uses a Market Systems Development approach to improve food systems, increase inclusivity, and ultimately, nutrition outcomes. It leverages the extensive experience GAIN has developed over the years of providing quality technical assistance, networking, knowledge sharing, building capacity of partners, and the provision of various tools and resources to Small and Medium Businesses (SMEs)to attach a ‘nutrition lens’ to the work of ESOs Nigeria, Benin, Uganda, Ethiopia, Mozambique, and Kenya