The Nile Pioneers Initiative, one of the initiatives of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), has announced that the volume of funds provided by the Business Development Services Centres (BDS) reached EGP 1.8bn since its launch in 2019 until the end of 2021, benefiting more than 42,000 new and existing projects.
This is within the framework of the continuous support of the bank’s initiative, supporting entrepreneurs and owners of small and medium enterprises, encouraging young people, and providing them with opportunities to start new projects.
Ahmed Hosni, the Director of the BDS Programmes at the Nile Pioneers Initiative, said in a statement on Sunday that the 12 banks participating in the initiative continued their expansion plans by establishing 8 new business development units, bringing their number to 32 centres and units, including 27 units in banks and five units in the Ministry of Youths and Sports, covering 17 governorates, as well as the continuation of the strategy of qualifying specialists through the Egyptian Banking Institute — the training arm of the CBE.
During 2021, about 29 new business development specialists were trained, bringing the total number of specialists in banks to 126, in addition to 31 specialists qualified by the Ministry of Youths and Sports.
The services provided by BDS centres and units vary, as they meet the actual needs of the target groups through full coordination with governmental and non-governmental agencies and institutions.
According to Hosni, the BDS centres and units succeeded in achieving a major boom during 2021, targeting about 24,000 beneficiaries, an increase of 11,000 from 2020, and a growth rate of 84.7%, bringing the number of beneficiaries since the launch of the initiative to about 42,278, 26% of which are women, while young men and women in the 16 to 35 age group accounted for 52.6%.
He explained that the BDS centres doubled their activities during 2021 in spreading awareness of entrepreneurship and a culture of financial inclusion by holding nearly 500 seminars and meetings, targeting about 40,000 beneficiaries — whether through direct participation or through social media — during which, more than 15,000 services were provided within the framework of financial inclusion services.
This brought the total during 2021 to about 28,500 services, including 13,000 electronic cards, 6,500 debit and credit accounts, 7,000 electronic payment services, and 2,000 consultations to improve cash management and administrative solutions.
Hosni indicated that the package of services provided by BDScentres during 2021 also achieved a great leap, reaching about 66,000 services and an increase of 34,000 services, with a growth rate of 107% compared to 2020, bringing the total services to about 107,500 services since the launch In July 2019.
He pointed out that these services had a direct impact in supporting the targeted groups of youths and entrepreneurs.
He added that through the initiative, about 12,420 feasibility studies and work plans for new and existing projects were prepared and reviewed, providing about 37,000 job opportunities, and 65 ready-made feasibility studies were prepared and published on the BDS centres website (https://np.eg/bds-hubs).
The website allows young people and those who wish to set up a private project to communicate with service specialists through social media or by booking an appointment on the same site.
He added that the BDS centres of the Nile Pioneers Initiative also helped in obtaining official activity documents for about 2,395 commercial and industrial records and activity licenses.