EBRD launches new advisory support facility for enterprises in Jordan

By Nibal Zgheib

The Zalloum Group is one business who has received advice from the Small Business Support team.

The Small Business Support team of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) held an official launch event for its activities in Jordan on Monday, 10 March 2014.

Small Business Support (SBS) has been active in Jordan since 2012, providing business advice through more than 40 projects, helping companies access the know-how they need to succeed and grow. The programme’s activities in the southern and eastern Mediterranean (SEMED) region are funded by the SEMED Multi-Donor Account and the SEMED cooperation funds account, which have provided €2.4 million in donor support.

Accounting for more than 90 per cent of active enterprises and 70 per cent of total employment, micro, small and medium-sized businesses are a fundamental part of the Jordanian economy.

Strengthening this area is a top priority for EBRD activities in Jordan as the country faces significant regional disparities. Smaller businesses continue to suffer from poor access to finance, limited exposure to managerial best practices, and low productivity, which hamper their potential to create jobs.

Charlotte Ruhe, Director of the Small Business Support team at the EBRD, said: “Developing the private sector through support for small and medium-sized enterprises is one of the EBRD’s key objectives in Jordan. The SBS facility can play a key role in supporting small businesses. Improving access to external advice is important in helping them grow and become catalysts for the country’s economic development.”

Drawing on the expertise of local consultants and international experts, SBS connects small and medium-sized enterprises with the expertise that can boost their businesses, transferring the skills and know-how that help them innovate, attract finance and source further expertise.

The EBRD’s SBS team introduces the latest best practice in marketing, operations, information communication technology, human resources and energy efficiency to improve quality, resource efficiency and growth.

In addition to working with individual businesses, the EBRD also engages with government agencies, local business associations and chambers of commerce. These activities help promote the role of investment and local consultancy services in small business development, and also strengthen the local consultancy sector.