World Bank Group and Partners Provide $1.25 Million in Grants, Technical Assistance to Support Job Creation in Upper Egypt

June 17, 2013

35 organizations set to transform agriculture and handicrafts markets into engines of employment

CAIRO, June 17, 2013 –The Egypt Development Marketplace (DM) program today awarded grants of $875,000 to 35 organizations to contribute to job creation in the agriculture and handicrafts sector, with a special emphasis on Upper Egypt. The DM is funded by the World Bank and its private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and several of its international and local partners. Along with technical assistance, the World Bank Group and its partners are investing more than $1.25 million in the program.

The grantees will receive $25,000 each, as well as technical support to scale up their innovative business model and generate employment. They will also be eligible for advisory support in areas ranging from corporate governance to environmental management from the IFC, and technical support from Egypt’s most prominent companies, foundations and international organizations. A number of financial institutions, social entrepreneurs, investors, development organizations, and government officials also participated in today’s Cairo event.

“The World Bank Group is committed to promoting an inclusive growth model and create an enabling environment for rural organizations to thrive and create jobs in the remote regions and villages of Egypt where poverty is acute,said Hartwig Schafer, World Bank Country Director for Egypt, Yemen and Djibouti.

The DM call for proposals took place from November 2012 to January 2013. 180 proposals from 171 organizations were submitted for funding. Priority was given to projects in Upper Egypt. In November 2012, outreach events were held in Assyut, Qena, Aswan, and Minya to generate interest in the competition and to encourage organizations operating in the targeted locations to apply.

In April 2013, two 4-day capacity building workshops for the finalists were organized in Aswan and Minya, to provide an in-depth, interactive training on proposal writing, budgeting, social impact monitoring and evaluation, and communication skills.

Through the Egypt DM initiative, projects with the highest potential for scale, replication, and financial sustainability have been identified for support. In addition to grants, the DM provides the opportunity to understand what works – how and under what conditions – in an effort to surface and invest in models that are best positioned to create jobs.

“The DM provides a platform that supports high performing social enterprises and inclusive business models go to scale and increase their capacity to reach disenfranchised communities with basic and essential goods and services," said Drew von Glahn, Team Leader of the Development Marketplace program at the World Bank Institute.

By working with our many partners, we look to support a broad ecosystem that can sustain and strengthen the social enterprise sector in Egypt.  This multi-layered and collaborative approach is consistent with the World Bank Group’s goals to surface and support "what works" to end poverty and promote shared prosperity,” he added.

The Egypt DM is a collaborative effort supported financially by several partners, including: the Sawiris Foundation for Social Development, the Australian Government (AusAID), Department for International Development (DFID) for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the International Labor Organization (ILO), Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) through the IFC the private sector arm of the WBG.

“We have long contended that the private sector and civil society can play a key role in building a socially-inclusive economy in Egypt,” said Magdi M. Amin, IFC’s Manager for Investment Climate in the MENA Region, a co-organizer of the DM.  “This competition has proven that the power of entrepreneurship and innovation is there in the Egyptian people, ready to be tapped to address Egypt’s development challenges.”

The grantees will benefit from strategic guidance and technical support from several local and international partners including: the African Development Bank, AlKorra Foundation for Sustainable Development, Ashoka, CARE Egypt, CISCO, Center for Development Services, Delta Aromatic Company, Etijah, Fair Trade Egypt, Financial Services Volunteer Corps (FSVC), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Egyptian Network for Integrated Development (ENID), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the International Labour Organization (ILO), Innoventures Company, Markaz for handicrafts, MercyCorps Egypt, Microsoft, the Misr El Kheir Foundation, Nahdet El Mahrousa NGO, PriceWaterHouseCoopers, the Sawiris Foundation for Social Development, Sobh for Food Industries and Coldstore, the Social Contract Center (SCC), the Social Fund for Development, the Pro-poor Horticulture Value Chains in Upper Egypt (SALASEL),  Synergos, USAID and Willow Impact Investors.

About The Development Marketplace

The DM is a competitive grants program seeking to support scalable, replicable social enterprise projects with the potential for significantly improving lives and access to basic goods and services for underserved poor communities. Projects that demonstrate appreciable impact in these areas are provided financial assistance, backed by strong need-based technical assistance in order that they may scale and/or replicate their efforts. The DM also seeks to leverage other parts of the WBG and country partners including Government to scale-up delivery models most effective in reaching the poor. The DM has since its inception in 1998, awarded more than $60 million in grants to more than 1200 innovative projects identified through country, regional and global competitions.

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