Helping Africa unlock the potential of its young entrepreneurs to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 will need to be innovative, especially in a challenging global economic environment.
Project supporting entrepreneurship in Egypt, Tanmia Tatweer: Egyptian Entrepreneurship Development Project, is a prime example. It has made a positive impact on people and the environment by supporting over 500 start-ups in the country. It has empowered youth and women especially in Upper Egypt and remote areas. It has created at least 8,400 jobs and supported innovative, clean, green start-ups.
Funded by the Danish-Arab Partnership Programme, it was designed and supported by the African Development Bank and implemented by the Egyptian Academy of Scientific Research and Technology (ASRT). Tanmiya or Tatveer Supported by a €4 million grant to nurture start-ups and improve the quality of their products and services. The scheme is part of a larger regional initiative across North Africa known as Souk Attemia. The initiative launched in 2013 in Tunis and following its success, has been replicated to cover Morocco and Egypt with some modifications to suit individual country contexts.
According to Gehen El-Sokri, principal socio-economist at the African Development Bank in Egypt, Tanmiya or Tatveer is bank based “Jobs for Youth” Strategy and aligns with gender strategy simultaneously “High 5″ Strategic Priority To improve the quality of life of the people of Africa.
The project is the first to launch an entrepreneurship incubation program in the New Valley Governorate in South-West Egypt. It provides training, funding and networking opportunities to existing and potential entrepreneurs in agribusiness, clean and green and creative industries.
Al-Sokri said, “It is heartening to see the enthusiasm of entrepreneurs as new horizons are opened for them.” Enterprise Development Agency, Nasser Social Bank, National Bank of Egypt, and public and private sector service providers for their support.
Tanmiya or Tatveer Project director Shaima Helal said the project focuses on youth and women in Upper Egypt and the New Valley.
“We had 12 events in these two regions and one event in Cairo,” he said. and provided financial support through grants and seed funds ranging from €2,500 to €51,000.”
He said that 66% of these start-ups are headed by women. In addition, the project plans to launch Arabized online courses in entrepreneurship development so that many more people can access these trainings at their own pace.
In Tunisia and Morocco, the program facilitates financing and supports the creation of micro, small and medium enterprises. It has helped reduce unemployment, promoted equality between women and men, and prioritized the protection of the environment.
Tanmiya or Tatveer Has helped integrate informal enterprises into the formal economy, a key objective of the African Development Bank. “We have helped over 90 start-ups to formally register and move into the formal economy. This is very important to us, and it makes a difference with other peer programs,” Helal said. Such is the success of Tanmia wa Tatweer that the Academy of Scientific Research and Technology will adopt and fund it as one of its programs.
The African Development Bank plays an important role in supporting the private sector, entrepreneurship and small and micro projects across Africa, including Egypt.