PKSF launched Promoting Agricultural Commercialization and Enterprises (PACE) project in January 2015. The project is jointly financed by PKSF and International Fund for Agricultural Development. The Financing Agreement of the project was signed between the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) on 11 December 2014. Subsequently, PKSF signed Subsidiary Loan and Grant Agreement (SLGA) with the Ministry of Finance, Government of Bangladesh on 18 January 2015 to implement the project.

Prior to the PACE Project, PKSF implemented three other IFAD funded projects, these are; i) Microfinance and Technical Supports (MFTS) Project, ii) Microfinance for Marginal and Small Farmers (MFMSF) Project and iii) Finance for Enterprise Development and Employment Creation (FEDEC) Project. All three projects were implemented very successfully and contributed significantly in poverty reduction and employment generation. The ‘Promoting Agricultural Commercialization and Enterprises (PACE) Project is designed on the basis of the experience and learning of the above-mentioned three projects to expedite further the process of poverty reduction by promoting microenterprises in the country. The project will be implemented in 6 years (2015-2020).

Goal and Objectives
The project goal is to enhance livelihoods (higher income from self-employment, business profit and wage employment, and food security) of the moderate and extreme poor (men and women) in a sustainable manner.

The development objectives are to increase sales and incomes from existing and new microenterprises and to create new wage employment opportunities for extreme and moderate poor people.

Project Participants
The target population of PACE project will include microentrepreneurs. who are borrowers of ME loan program, moderately poor and extremely poor persons. In terms of professional identities, the project will target marginal and small farmers involved in field crops, horticulture, fisheries, livestock production, non-farm microentrepreneurs, and professionals in service sectors. The project will extend financial services to additional 1,02,000 microentrepreneur. Under the Value Chain Development of the project 3,00,00 project participants will receive non-financial services while 50,000 entrepreneurs will be benefitted under the component of Technology and product adaptation. Thus, the total number of direct project members are 4,52,000 in three components.

Geographic Coverage
PACE project is being implemented all over Bangladesh through the countrywide network of Partner Organizations (POs) of PKSF. The PACE Project also adopted the strategy of combining financial and non-financial services to expedite the process of poverty reduction.

Expected Benefits
The main benefits of the project will be increase in sales due to the expansion of business, enhancement in productivity due to adoption of technologies and management practice, increased income by microentrepreneurs and other Value Chain actors, increased skills levels of workers, sustainable services, creation of wage employment and a conducive sector specific policy environment.

The cost of the project is USD 92.85 million, of which IFAD contribution will be USD 40.0 million (43%). An amount of USD 0.36 million (1%) from Korean fund will be utilized under the project for setting up an e-platform to provide internet-based marketing support to the microentrepreneurs. PKSF will provide USD 22.45 million (24%) and remaining USD 30.04 million (32%) will be provided by Partner Organizations (POs) of PKSF.