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EU and EBRD advisory support launched in Alexandria for SMEs

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Private sector development through support for SMEs is one of the EBRD’s key objectives in Egypt, director says

The European Union and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has launched its Small Business Support (SBS) initiative to assist small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Alexandria. The event took place in the Bibliotheca Alexandria, with its director Ismail Serageldin giving a speech on the importance of SMEs.

The SBS programme has already encompassed more than 100 projects to give Egyptian businesses better access to business advice. The European Union is providing €2.4m to the programme.

“Developing the private sector through support for SMEs is one of the EBRD’s key objectives in Egypt,” observed Philip ter Woort, EBRD Director for 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,”

SBS will help connect SMEs with the expertise that can transform their businesses through working with local consultants and international experts. SMEs will be provided with necessary skills, tools and know-how to innovate to attract finance 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,” an official statement issued by the EBRD read.

In February, at the MEDA Finance 2014 conference for banking and novel financial instruments, the managing director for the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean region at the EBRD Hildegard Gacek said the bank’s proprieties in Egypt are “quite large”.

“They are very significant, but the main target, and I’d like to emphasise this, is really to encourage and support the private sector,” Gacek added.

During the same event, Egyptian Exchange (EGX) chairman Mohamed Omran urged international financial institutions, such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), to seek out ownership stakes in small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Egypt.

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