World Bank to invest $200 million in Egyptian startups to create jobs for women and youth

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The World Bank is set to invest $200 million to support job creation for young people and women in Egypt through increased financial access to youth and women-led startups and small businesses in the country.

The project, dubbed the ‘Catalyzing Entrepreneurship for Job Creation’ project will channel US$145 million mainly through non-bank financial institutions offering loans to small businesses.

This targets women and youth-led businesses, first-time borrowers, and small business in less developed regions across Egypt to provide them with funding and coaching opportunities to help them build the necessary skills and capacity for success.

“Entrepreneurs – and especially women- are a cornerstone for strong and stable economies.’’ said Dr. Sahar Nasr, Egypt’s Minister of Investment and International Cooperation and Egypt’s Representative on the World Bank’s Board of Governors. “Our partnership with the Word Bank Group aims to empower Egyptian women and youth to become successful entrepreneurs. This is an investment that offers many opportunities to improve the livelihoods of Egyptians through job creation and contributing a solid foundation for the country’s economy.’’

The project also aims to increase the supply of seed, early-stage, and venture capital going to riskier and innovative start-ups and young small and medium enterprises with high potential for growth and job creation.

To build up the early-stage investment ecosystem in Egypt, the project will invest US$50 million in privately managed risk capital intermediaries, such as angel funds, accelerators, VC funds, and investment companies.

“Egypt has shown strong commitment to reforming its economy.’’ Said Marina Wes, World Bank country Director for Egypt, Yemen and Djibouti. “We are proud to be supporting Egypt’s entrepreneurs across the country, especially the women and young people who remain Egypt’s valuable yet most untapped potential.’’

The new program builds on the success of the ongoing ‘’Promoting Innovation for Inclusive Financial Access’’ project which provides small and medium businesses with access to finance and promotes private sector job creation across Egypt. To date this project has created about 300,000 jobs, benefitting approximately 70,000 women and 56,000 youths. 

The World Bank currently has a portfolio of 16 projects in Egypt with a total commitment of US$6.69 billion.