CAIRO: The National Council of Youth has partnered with the Social Fund for Development (SFD) to provide loan facilities for those looking to launch small and medium enterprises.
The main objective the two organizations have through the partnership is to address the issue of unemployment among youth and encourage them to start or expand existing projects, in a bid to create jobs and reduce the unemployment rate.
“The mandate of the SFD is job creation, poverty alleviation and improving living conditions of the poor in Egypt,” said Ayman Khoudeir, assistant general manager of SFD.
He added that the loans help accomplish this in line with the mission of the organization.
The SFD was established in 1991 and has awarded an estimated LE 14 billion since inception through funding loans for SMEs in addition to implementing community development projects.
The main target group the organization focuses on are those who have any level of education certificate with a minimum requirement of finishing high school, have the ability to manage small projects, and small business owners and existing craftsmen wishing to expand and develop their practices.
According to the group’s website (sfdegypt.org), those looking to participate in the loan program must have the legal capacity, good behavior, be literate, plan to run a business full time and be present in the business to maintain its activity as well (for males) have completed the required military service, with the exceptions of deferrals or exemptions.
“In order to obtain a loan from SFD, entrepreneurs can visit SFD regional offices in the 29 governorates of Egypt, where SFD offers loans with conditions that are softer than traditional bank loans,” said Khoudeir.
“In addition, SFD also offers free feasibility studies, free on the job training and free marketing services,” he added.
The aim of providing the facilities is to help remove obstacles that are in the way of those youth wishing to benefit from the loan program. In light of current events, those who have already borrowed from the SFD have been granted a postponement for three months of their loan installments and interest.
The grace period for the deferment will end on April 30 and includes all projects in all sectors that were financed.
The rain check on payments was done as a way to help in reducing losses as well as the weakness of production and sales due that resulted from the disruption of normal business life during the revolution.
Other new mechanisms have also been put into place as a way to intervene and find alternative solutions for those businesses and projects affected to help accelerate progress and recovery as the organization recognizes the importance of the SME sector and its role in the economy of Egypt by providing stable and sustainable employment.
The SFD has said it will also aide those projects that are affected in addressing their standings and help in regaining their presence in the market as well as still assisting in providing financial services and non-financial training, marketing and facilitation for customers.