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The USAID/E3 ProjectStarter website, a toolkit for USAID staff and partners, is an outgrowth of an E3 Bureau effort to strengthen the monitoring and evaluation of USAID trade programs and projects around the world. 

Trade has long been a focus of USAID programming centered on economic growth. Since the start of the Doha Development Round of global trade negotiations under the World Trade Organization in 2001, USAID and other developed countries have increased their support for trade capacity building (TCB) in developing countries; the focus of this support has been on helping host countries and their stakeholders participate more effectively in trade negotiations, implement resulting commitments, respond to new trade opportunities, and transition to a more open and competitive trade environment.

USG statistics on TCB funding are made public in additional detail (by each of the over thirty USG agencies funding TCB, by country recipient, and by year) in the U.S. Trade Capacity Building Database.

The USG has made strides in evaluating the effects of its TCB assistance. In 2005, USAID launched a USG-wide cross-cutting evaluation of TCB assistance, producing a profile of USG TCB investments as well as a subsequent in-depth evaluation of USAID’s TCB portfolio, published in 2010 as: From Aid to Trade: Delivering Results. USAID also designed and delivered a pilot training program on monitoring and evaluation specifically for trade-related projects. Those efforts have been further refined and updated in the ProjectStarter toolkit to reflect substantial advances in USAID’s overall monitoring, evaluation and learning framework, guidance and tools—as well as the collection and systematic organization of a substantial set of resources specific to trade capacity building.

ProjectStarter was developed with USAID funding under the Business Environments for Agile Markets (BEAM) project, implemented by CARANA Corporation. Management Systems International (MSI) and Serendipity Creative LLC supported this effort. In 2017, the ProjectStarter website was updated bringing its contents in line with USAID’s September 2016 ADS revision and release of ADS 201 Program Cycle Operational Policy, and its March 2017 update of that revised guidance. The ProjectStarter update was undertaken by Dexis Consulting Group, with its partners Carana Corporation and Serendipity Creative LLC under iBEAM, in collaboration with Management Systems International (MSI).