The European Union (EU) and the EBRD are stepping up their support for small and medium-sized enterprises in Egypt. The EBRD Small Business Support team held an official event for its EU-funded activities in Alexandria on Saturday, 15 March 2014 at the Library of Alexandria.
The event was hosted in the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, where Dr. Ismail Serageldin gave a keynote speech on the role of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Egypt during the transition period.
The Small Business Support programme has already begun more than 100 projects to help Egyptian businesses access high-quality business advice, with the European Union providing €2.4 million to the programme.
Accounting for more than 90 per cent of the private sector, SMEs are a fundamental part of the Egyptian economy. Yet they continue to suffer from poor access to finance, limited managerial skills and low productivity, greatly hampering their job creation potential. As such, strengthening this area is a top priority for both EU and EBRD activities in Egypt.
“Developing the private sector through support for SMEs is one of the EBRD’s key objectives in Egypt. In the current challenging economic environment, sound business advice has an important part to play in fostering a strong private sector for the country,” observed Philip ter Woort, EBRD Director for Egypt.
SBS connects SMEs with the expertise that can transform their businesses. Working with local consultants and international experts, the programme gives SMEs the tools, skills and know-how to innovate, attract finance and expertise and become the next generation of business leaders. With expertise in management, quality management, marketing, engineering and more, SBS helps enterprises to become fitter, more prosperous and more resilient.
In addition to working with individual businesses, the EBRD also engages in policy dialogue with government agencies, local business associations and chambers of commerce to help promote the role of investment and local consultancy services in small business development.
To date, the EBRD has invested approximately €240 million through 10 projects in Egypt, in various sectors and has carried out more than 100 advisory projects with SMEs.
*Small Business Support in Egypt is funded primarily by the European Union through the Neighbourhood Investment Facility, with additional funding from the EBRD SEMED Multi-Donor Account.