The Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (MSMEDA) has financed over 644,000 small and micro enterprises for women over the past seven years, according to Sally Saada, head of technical bureau at MSMEDA.
This represents 46% of total loans provided by the agency to small and micro enterprises during the same period. These projects provided about 734,600 job opportunities in the various governorates.
The agency is also working to implement programmes and policies that help empower women and support them economically.
Saada’s remarks came as MSMEDA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Arab Women Investors Union, a subsidiary of the Council of Arab Economic Unity (CAEU). This is with the aim of providing decent and sustainable job opportunities for young people, especially women-owned enterprises.
Nevine Gamea, Minister of Trade and Industry and CEO of MSMEDA, said that signing the MoU continues MSMEDA’s initiatives and policies launched to increase cooperation and coordination with development partners.
These partners include the sister Arab institutions and entities, led by the Arab Women Investors Union, and aim to promote entrepreneurship, especially among women.
It aims to encourage them to expand in establishing new small enterprises that contribute to providing a suitable income for these women and their families.
Gamea added that, under the MoU, the agency provides financial and non-financial services for those wishing to establish projects, and provide training programmes for encouraging self-employment.
It will also prepare trainers in entrepreneurship programmes for women to create a base of qualified trainers in Egypt and the member states of the union.
Gamea indicated that the agency will provide consultancy and technical support to develop projects. This will also work to improve their productivity and competitive capabilities in preparation for exporting their products abroad.
This is in addition to helping with marketing products through exhibitions held by the agency inside and outside Egypt.
She stressed that the Agency will provide advice and cooperation programmes to develop handicrafts and heritage in particular, in addition to networking services between male and female entrepreneurs in both the Authority and the member states of the Union.
Hoda Galal Yassa, President of the Arab Women Investors Union, said that the MoU comes as part of the union and MSMEDA’s similar objectives. These aim to achieve economic and social development, whilst promoting women as an effective Arab economic entity and enriching their role in society.
They also aim to strengthen economic relations between Egypt and union members, which is especially the aim in the areas of women’s entrepreneurship and women’s empowerment.
Yassa pointed out that, in order to activate this MoU, the Union will organise forums to promote the successful experiences of project owners.
This will also ensure an exchange of experiences and best practices among its member states and MSMEDA, on empowering women and opening new markets for the agency’s clients. This will take place through exhibitions held by the union’s member states.
She added that the Union will hold employment forums in coordination with MSMEDA, to present job opportunities available to project owners. It will also serve as an opportunity to nominate qualified members as trainers, mentors, and advisors for entrepreneurship programmes.