Nomou Launches in Egypt to Support SME Sector
In June, Shell Foundation’s long-term partner GroFin launched Nomou in Egypt, as part of a regional initiative to catalyse sustainable job creation through supporting the growth of the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) sector in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
Over the next five years, Nomou in Egypt will seek to deploy $50m to 125 small and growing businesses and provide them with integrated finance and business support with the aim to create 3,500 sustainable jobs in the country.
High unemployment in Egypt is a challenge for growth and prosperity. Research from Hearts+Mind Strategies suggest that the MENA region is missing a major growth engine, with SMEs and entrepreneurs lacking the vital resources they need to succeed such as access to flexible patient capital, access to business skills and training and linkages to the supply chains of large organisations.
Nomou, meaning growth in Arabic, is an initiative addressing these market barriers across the region, with other country-specific SME funds in Jordan, Iraq and Oman. The initiative is providing an integrated solution of finance for business growth with loans over 3-7 years ranging from $100,000 to $1.5m. Nomou supports businesses whose needs are too large for microfinance and too small for private equity – and take early-stage risk that commercial banks would not consider.
Nomou also provides financing based on the viability of an SME’s business plan as opposed to availability of collateral and track record. They have a dedicated team of business experts to provide extensive pre- and post-investment business training and support and advice to help entrepreneurs achieve their growth objectives.
Nomou in Egypt has already secured support and funding from a range of investors, donors and development agencies, including the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the Dutch Good Growth Fund (DGGF) and German development bank KfW. DFID’s multi-year commitment will assist GroFin in developing operational capacity in-country in addition to supporting the delivery of business support to local SMEs.
At the launch in Cairo John Casson, British Ambassador to Egypt, said: “Foreign investment and mega-projects are vital, but not enough to power Egypt’s economy in the long-term. The jobs Egypt needs will only come from enterprising Egyptians growing their businesses.”
The jobs Egypt needs will only come from enterprising Egyptians growing their businesses
John Casson, UK Ambassador to Egypt
Nomou was co-founded in 2012 by GroFin and Shell Foundation, based on their 10-year track record of providing vital and much-needed support to SMEs in Africa. GroFin has already helped to sustain more than 18,000 jobs, provided business support to 8,000 SMEs, and invested in 600 business owners’ dreams. Having generated almost US$2 billion in economic impact, GroFin, Shell Foundation and the UK government are bringing a proven integrated solution for SMEs to Egypt.