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Business Advisory Services (BAS) and the Enterprise Growth Programme (EGP) provide micro, small and medium-sized enterprises with assistance from experienced advisors.
BAS enables MSMEs (private, majority local ownership enterprises with up to 250 staff) to access a range of local consulting services on a cost-sharing basis by providing grants of up to €10,000.
EGP focuses on substantial managerial and structural changes within companies, focusing on strengthening organisation, management, operations, sales, marketing and finance. The Programme operates on a cost-sharing basis, utilising international experienced senior executives from the same industry as the client.
The Business Advisory Team (BAS) has organised a training programme to improve tourism consultancy services.
The Enterprise Growth Programme (EGP) helps a Serbian bakery focus on key success factors such as business planning.
BAS has received €755,000 in donor funding and has undertaken 10 projects in the country up to date. EGP has undertaken 12 projects in Tunisia and has committed €745,000 in donor funding.
SMEs form the backbone of Tunisia’s economy – they account for more than 90 per cent of operating enterprises. But the country faces significant regional disparities; overall, the east coast is better off than the western and southern regions.
Most MSMEs are relatively small; many are family-owned and -managed. Access to finance appears to be a major challenge due to administrative policies and a lack of dedicated MSME products available on the banking side and financial illiteracy on the MSME side.
The sector is also characterised by a high level of informality creating unfair competition, lower productivity and even more limited access to finance.
MSMEs also face internal challenges that constrain growth, such as excessive centralisation of management and lack of corporate governance – common issues in family-owned businesses. Underdeveloped value chain is more pronounced in agribusiness and is a major concern for export-oriented MSMEs.
SBS operations in Tunisia began with activities to raise awareness of the benefits of accessing well-designed advisory services. The SBS team has identified priority sectors such as textiles, construction materials, mechanical and electrical components, tourism, agribusiness, and research and development.
Operations started in the capital city and will extend to less-developed areas. Low female employment and high youth unemployment, particularly in the rural areas of Tunisia, can hinder economic growth. Therefore the SBS programmes are designed to address these and other cross-cutting issues – such as energy and water efficiency – once a good operational level is reached.
SBS operations in Tunisia focus on:
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