Aid Funded Business

Find out about the Aid Funded Business service, which helps UK companies win business from aid agency funded projects worldwide.


The Department for International Trade (DIT) Aid Funded Business service helps UK companies win business from aid agency funded projects. The service provides advice and business opportunities, events, seminars and overseas group visits to help you do this.


Benefits of using the service include:

  • DIT can help you make the right contacts in the aid agencies
  • easier access to opportunities in the Aid sector, which have a value of over USD140 billion per year
  • orders are always backed by funds
  • a secure way of doing business in emerging markets

How the service works

Development banks and other development agencies fund projects that are agreed with governments of developing countries. The general aim of the projects is to improve the prosperity and well being of people in these countries with a special focus on those in extreme poverty. Increasingly, these organisations also co-fund projects with the private sector.

Humanitarian aid organisations such as the United Nations (UN) and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) give relief to people affected by natural disasters such as hurricanes and typhoons, and those displaced by man-made disasters such as civil wars.

The Aid Funded Business service helps your company find out about the work of these organisations, and how you can supply goods and service to support their work.

There are opportunities for every size of company and sector, but the most needed products and consultancy are in:

  • healthcare
  • transportation
  • water and sanitation
  • energy
  • agriculture
  • environment and climate change
  • education and training
  • public administration and law
  • industry and trade

International aid agencies

The service helps UK companies make contacts in the aid agencies, and helps them become familiar with the organisations’ working and procurement practices. The agencies are:

World and Regional Development Banks

There are many opportunities for private consultants, suppliers and contractors to bid for work in regional development bank projects.

The 5 main development banks are the:

European Union External Aid

Every year the Europesan Union (EU) spends approximately €19 billion on external development assistance to more than 160 countries and territories. EuropeAid implements these EU assistance programmes and much of the work is put out to commercial tender, representing significant business opportunities for consultants, works contractors and suppliers of goods.

EU External Assistance is delivered through these programmes:

  • Instrument for Pre-Accession - assistance to EU candidate countries
  • European Neighbourhood Policy Instrument - assistance programme to the neighbouring countries of the enlarged EU
  • Development Co-operation Instrument - assistance programme to countries in Latin America and Asia
  • European Development Fund - assistance to African, Caribbean and Pacific countries

Department for International Development (DFID)

The UK delivers bilateral aid through DFID, who although untied, are a very important client for UK consultants and goods and equipment suppliers. The Aid Funded Business service organises regular seminars with the DFID Procurement Group.

United Nations (UN) agencies

The UN is a particularly good market for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The average value of the 135,000 contracts issued annually is about USD 20,000.

The UN is made up of a ‘family’ of organisations, although each agency sits under the general title of ‘United Nations’, each one has its own set of needs and ways of working.

There are 5 main centres for procurement - New York, Geneva, Copenhagen, Vienna and Rome. Additional offices are located in developing countries known as ‘field missions’.

The Aid Funded Business service runs a series of events within the UK and overseas introducing British companies to UN procurement staff. It also has a network of liaison officers in the main UN procurement centres who can offer specialist advice and research.


UK companies of any size and turnover are eligible to apply for the service. Companies should have experience of international trade and a minimum of 3 years’ audited accounts.

How to apply

Contact or a member of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development - Aid Funded Business Fact File (PDF, 542KB, 1 page)

You can also find out about and register for Aid Funded Business events

Case studies

Find out how DIT’s Aid Funded Business service helped UK companies export successfully:


For general enquiries on the Aid Funded Business service contact


Costs vary according to the level of support given by the network, and the scope of events or missions. You will be told about any charges before you use the service.

Further information

Read DIT’s fact files on the Aid Funded Business agencies:

Africa Development Bank - Aid Funded Business fact file (PDF, 342KB, 2 pages)

Asian Development Bank - Aid Funded Business fact file (PDF, 306KB, 2 pages)

Caribbean Aid Agencies - Aid Funded Business fact file (PDF, 1.27MB, 6 pages)

Department for International Development (DFID) - Aid Funded Business fact file (PDF, 351KB, 1 page)

EuropeAid - Aid Funded Business fact file (PDF, 316KB, 1 page)

Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations, World Food Programme, International Fund for Agricultural Development - Aid Funded Business fact file (PDF, 307KB, 2 pages)

Inter American Development Bank fact file (PDF, 559KB, 2 pages)

United Nations Aid Funded Business fact file (PDF, 409KB, 1 page)

World Bank Aid Funded Business fact file (PDF, 433KB, 2 pages)

Aid Funded Business Service DIT global staff network (PDF, 115KB, 4 pages)

Published 11 April 2014