Endeavor Egypt leads SME training program to Bankers

Last month Endeavor Egypt concluded the delivery of the first of a series of training programs designed and offered to Egypt’s banking sector, aiming at empowering participating bankers with the skills and know-how needed to enable and facilitate Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) and entrepreneur financing over the years to come.

Hosted by the Egyptian Banking Institute, the official training arm of the Central Bank of Egypt, and attended by over 20 SME and Business Development bankers from six different Egyptian banks, the program “The 411 on Entrepreneurs: A Non-Conventional Approach” was led by facilitators from the Endeavor Egypt network.

This program is the fruit of a cooperation between Endeavor Egypt and the SME Unit of the Egyptian Banking Institute. “The (SME) Unit acts as a catalyst for the CBE and works on bridging the gap between bankers and SMEs to facilitate the process of access to finance and create an enabling environment for SMEs in Egypt,” explained Laila El-Oteifi, Director of the SME Unit at EBI. “We prosper to enhance the SME Bankers competences and skills with the necessary knowledge and tools,” El-Oteifi added.

Over the course of three days, program participants were given unique insights into understanding entrepreneurs, entrepreneurship, business life-cycles and models, and Egypt’s burgeoning entrepreneurial landscape. Participants were also exposed to best practices, model policies and other support-mechanisms in place in other regional and global entrepreneurial ecosystem counterparts that could serve as examples to enhance or re-imagine their roles as facilitators and enablers of access to bank finance to SMEs in Egypt. 

The knowledge share done through the program was reinforced through talks, activities and group-work led by Endeavor Egypt network members, who contributed their time and effort to participate in this important initiative. Endeavor Mentors Somaya El-Sherbini, Co-Founder of human resources and talent solutions firm RightFoot, and Alaa Hashim, Chairman of business transformation advisory services firm Transcendium helped lead different activities during the training. Leveraging their vast expertise as entrepreneurs and know-how of working in close proximity with entrepreneurial initiatives helped put a lot of valuable perspectives to the topics on hand and open a space for dialogue with participants on the important issue of enabling SME finance.

“It was an eye opening experience. I had a chance to interact with bankers and understand their mindset and give some insights on SMEs,” said Yasseen Abdul Ghaffar, Founder and Managing Director of SolarizEgypt and Endeavor Entrepreneur, who also led a session at the program. “Meetings like this are essential to bridge the gaps between banks and entrepreneurs in Egypt,” Abdul Ghaffar added.

“As an organization dedicated to the sustainable economic development of Egypt through supporting High Impact Entrepreneurs and promoting their efforts to create jobs and wealth and multiply their impact locally, enabling access to finance is something Endeavor Egypt cares deeply about as it unlocks much of the barriers to scale standing in the way of many promising businesses in Egypt,” said Mohamed Rahmy, Managing Director of Endeavor Egypt.

Over the course of 2016 and 2017 the Central Bank of Egypt released a bundle of new regulations and directives that promise significant changes to Egypt’s business outlook, with particular emphasis on supporting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) through promoting bank SME lending. Such measures included making available EGP200 billion in funds for SME lending to be deployed by banks over the next four years, favorable interests rates, priority support to sectors considered most viable to economic growth, among other incentives.

“Moving forward with our purpose, the SME Unit has gladly collaborated with Endeavor Egypt to add more depth and value to the trainings offered to SME Bankers, taking the learning process beyond technical parameters. Endeavor Egypt succeeded in instilling SME bankers with the tools needed to facilitate the anticipated growth in Bank’s SME financing and handling,” El-Otaifi said.

Through its various components and activities, the program offered participants a needed space and opportunity to inspire new and out-of-the-box thinking around how to best tailor bankers’ engagement with Egypt’s small and medium businesses, at a time when the need for supporting SMEs couldn’t be more urgent.

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