Managed by Nathan, the Making Markets Work Better for the Poor Phase 2 (M4P2) project advanced systemic change in market systems for infrastructure services, agro-processing value chains, and labor so economic growth is both efficient and inclusive of the poor.

The project, a joint effort of the Asian Development Bank and DFID, supported policy research and business model innovation through two funds: the $3 million Vietnam Challenge Fund (VCF) and the Policy Action Research Fund.

Through the Vietnam Challenge Fund, businesses propose innovative and new business models that can benefit the poor and be replicated on a sustainable basis, with emphasis on production and market penetration in domestic and food retail systems.

Grantees match or exceed the value of grants with their own capital and meet contractually agreed performance milestones. Policy Action Research funding supports studies of pro-poor market reforms and is introducing an action-oriented approach to applied research in Vietnam.

We awarded grants and funds to support work on upwards of 20 research and business model projects. VCF grants supported 11 projects that span many locations in Vietnam, from Cao Bang in the north, to Tien Giang in the south, from the highlands of Dak Lak to the coast of Ben Tre.

They also spanned a wide variety of agricultural value chains, including fruit, coffee, tea, vegetables, meat, and seafood.

Four proposals involving policy studies of the labor market and value chain development were also awarded. Two focused on making Vietnam’s technical-vocational education system more functional and relevant, and another two focused on improving contracting mechanisms in the agricultural sector and will likely become inputs for proposed changes in related government policies.

Policy research grants to introduce public-private partnerships in rural road maintenance and to support skill development in the informal sector are in the works.

For more information, visit the project website at

Please contact Buddhika Samarasinghe at 

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