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FEATURE STORY

A Boost for Small Businesses in Egypt Leads to Growth and Employment

January 14, 2014

One of the young workers at Tamam's company working on a machine to cut the tin sheets.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • With a US$50,000 loan, small business owner, Hossam Tammam was able to expand his business and hire 25 new employees
  • A $300 million World Bank Project in Egypt provides loans for micro and small businesses
  • Access to credit has helped small businesses grow, leading to the creation of 111,000 jobs since the launch of the project in 2011

A Family Business

Hossam Tammam is 40 years-old and brimming with enthusiasm.  He is the owner of a small-business that bears his family’s name. It has grown significantly of late, an achievement that is a source of immense pride for his father, Gamal.

On his factory floor, 25 employees are now constantly busy cutting tin sheets, stamping them with the company’s logo, and molding them into cans. But Hossam has even greater plans. Access to credit has allowed him to grow this far, and he is now eyeing the two empty floors above his with a growing determination to have them bustle with the same kind of activity as the ground floor.

Access to credit is the key to expansion

In partnership with the Egyptian Social Fund for Development (SFD), the World Bank launched a US$300 million Enhancing Access to Finance for Micro and Small Enterprises Project. The aim of the project is to increase access to finance for micro and small enterprises (MSEs) on a sustainable basis. This would in turn support Egypt in meeting the many challenges it faces following the 2011 revolution, by encouraging private investment, creating new jobs, ending poverty, and promoting shared economic prosperity.

Open Quotes

This project has played a critical role in the post-revolution period, reaching poor villages and underserved governorates Close Quotes

Sahar Nasr
World Bank Lead Economist and the Task Team Leader of the project

It was through this program that Hossam got a loan of EGP350,000 (US$50,000.), which was packaged with technical assistance on enhancing transparency, developing marketing skills, and innovation. Along with dispersing funds, the project was also complemented with reforms aiming at improving the legal and regulatory framework with the objective of maximizing the development impact and long-term outcomes.

The project provided the vital financing and the advisory services that allowed Hossam to grow his business and hire on 25 employees. His dreams and his ambition have expanded along with the business.  

Reaching out to the underserved

While stimulating growth and generating employment opportunities, the project has also been successful in reaching people and communities that lack access to finance. This has been achieved through the design of the project, which has two components. The first is a credit facility for micro enterprises which disburses funds through banks, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), and micro-finance institutions (MFIs). The second is a credit facility for small enterprises that disburses through the banking sector.

“This project has played a critical role in the post-revolution period, reaching poor villages and underserved Governorates” said Dr. Sahar Nasr, World Bank Lead Economist and the Task Team Leader of the project.
Dr. Nasr added that “the project contributes to ending poverty and boosting shared prosperity through creating sustainable private sector jobs, particularly for women and youth.”
Since its launch in 2011, the project has disbursed US$240 million, which constitutes around 80 percent of its total amount. Women and young business owners have received 25 percent and 30 percent respectively of the funds disbursed. As of last December 2013, the project had led to 111,000 new jobs; including over 21,000 jobs in the small business sector, and over 89,000 in the micro business sector.

Hossam will almost certainly not be satisfied until his family business is able to hire on the necessary employees to fill the empty floors in his building.