AMI, in collaboration with Arab Women Enterprise Fund and Enclude Solutions, is helping micro entrepreneurs in Egypt grow their businesses and increase their awareness of Digital Financial Services (DFS). Working together with Tasaheel Microfinance in Egypt, this programme focuses on women entrepreneurs, who are often neglected by capacity building programmes, and find it hardest to access information on financial products and services.
Micro-entrepreneur Basma on the left is addressing some fears on using Mobile Money. “What if I send to the wrong number? What if I forget my password?”
Female entrepreneurs in Egypt face 3 key challenges, all of which impede their growth:
- Lack of basic business skills to manage their finances and grow their businesses
- Lack of access to information on financial products and services, and lack of understanding around how capital could help their businesses grow
- Lack of awareness around digital financial services, and how these could benefit their businesses
The pilot phase of this project reached out to 3,500 entrepreneurs, 86% of them women, to address these challenges and set them up for growth. The project started in April 2018 and is slated to run for 6 months.
AMI support’s entrepreneurs with key businesses skills
AMI is delivering a 6 month programme to support micro entrepreneurs with key business skills such as bookkeeping, marketing and business planning and, to introduce them to using technology for business operations, including digital payments. The programme is being offered in Arabic. The programme leverages AMI’s blended learning methodology, to help participants translate learning into on-the-job practice. The entrepreneurs are using simple tools provided through AMI’s online courses and meeting up for learning workshops to practise what they’ve been learning. To help run the programme, AMI trained 22 loan officers as facilitators to support the entrepreneurs.
Feedback has been extremely positive, both from the facilitators (loan officers) and the entrepreneurs. The loan officers have reported applying the concepts learned in the courses to their own jobs, and have noticed improved job performance as a result. For example, they’re investing in building relationships with their loan beneficiaries so that they are able to identify potential loan defaulters ahead of time and seek interventions/solutions.
The entrepreneurs are also seeing positive impact in their businesses. One entrepreneur applied simple business planning strategies introduced in the programme to grow and expand her business from an online cosmetics shop to a wholesale venture that now employs 3 more people to handle distribution. Another entrepreneur explained how she used market positioning strategies from the course to help her husband establish a painting business.
The entrepreneurs have also leveraged the networking opportunities to collaborate around business. For example, three entrepreneurs who met through the programme and offer complementary services – make up artistry, wedding clothes and event planning – decided to partner together and provide a one-stop shop for wedding resources. With the positive impact of this pilot programme, AMI and its partners are looking to scale it up across multiple regions in Egypt and beyond.
- Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth (MCIG)
- Enclude Solutions
- Arabic Women Enterprise Fund (AWEF)
- Tasaheel Microfinance
- African Management Initiative (AMI)