As part of SANAD TAF activities, the SANAD Fund contracted Avrio Impact to organize a series of webinars around digitizing small and medium enterprises in the MENA region (Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, the Palestinian Territories, Morocco, Tunisia). This series follows the success of a similar webinar held in Jordan in 2021.
The webinars, titled "Promoting Digital Transformation Among SMEs in the MENA region", will cover various topics on digital transformation, such as digital marketing, digital process optimization, digital financial services, e-commerce, and digital sales, among a few others.
Sep 5, 2023: Embedded Finance (Jordan, Egypt) - Integration of credit products for non financial digital platforms, Extending credit to employees and suppliers
Sep 12, 2023: E-commerce and Digital Sales (Egypt, Lebanon, Palestinian Territories) - Integrating e-commerce solutions. Data mining and analysis for informed decision making. B2B vs B2C vs C2C sales channels. Pipeline management. Account management (order/pipeline management). Prospect monitoring/Lead tracking
Womenpreneur Digital Hub, a joint initiative of the SANAD Entrepreneurship Academy and Womenpreneur Organization, provides entrepreneurs with access to a wealth of resources, trainings, and networking opportunities. The hub also offers a wide range of workshops and events for women throughout the MENA region.
SANAD Entrepreneurship Academy together with IMPACT Lab is launching an agritech program that aims to support the expansion of startups from Morocco, Tunisia, Ivory Coast, and Senegal in at least one other target country, by reinforcing regional ecosystem engagement, with more intensive corporate involvement, while leveraging a digital platform. The program will target startups that have already realized their first sales in their local markets and have the capacity to scale regionally.
Part of the program is a 3-month digital acceleration program for the selected agri-tech startups which is accepting applications by 3th July 2023.
Free Online Course for Small Businesses
The Entrepreneurship Academy and Jordan’s Al Hussein Fund for Excellence are launching an online course to support entrepreneurs in the MENA region. Offered through the free-of-charge Edraak platform, the course is designed to help both startups and business owners learn the most important skills to start or run a micro, small, or medium enterprise.
Instructional videos use practical examples and case studies to help learners easily apply the lessons to their own needs. The five modules cover topics on starting a business, business basics, managing a business, growing a business and financing a business. Short reviews and a final exam help participants review and practice the skills they have learned.
Through the free online course, the partners aim to increase entrepreneurship skills and business knowledge among the region’s entrepreneurs – thus supporting the business success that drives economic growth and job creation.
The course is available here starting June 1, 2020.
Pan-African Fintech Solutions
In 2020, The Entrepreneurship Academy of the SANAD Fund for MSME in partnership with Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST), supported fintech start-ups in Sub-Saharan Africa looking to expand to MENA Region through an acceleration program. The program was designed to better equip the founders of fintech startups in expanding into new markets, providing them with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the NA tech ecosystem. It encompassed training, mentorship, acceleration, and expansion preparation. Participants had the ability to meet new market representatives virtually, covering countries such as Morocco, Tunisia, and Egypt, - gaining a better understanding of the ecosystem. 10 fintech startups with 16 (co --) founders benefitted directly from the acceleration program. The majority of these start-ups are now engaged with local stakeholders and have entered into partnerships - piloting their solutions in one of the identified markets in North Africa.
BDS Hubs Nilepreneurs
The Entrepreneurship Academy is supported the roll-out of “Nilepreneurs,” a joint venture between the Central Bank of Egypt and Nile University, to establish a nation-wide presence and low-barrier infrastructure to foster the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Egypt. One of the main measures involves setting up Business Development Service (BDS) Hubs inside bank branches. Under SANAD’s Entrepreneurship Academy, the Egyptian Banking Institute and the Egyptian Financial Services Institute have developed specialized training modules that will enable selected bank employees to provide these non-financial advisory services to existing and potential clients of the banks in their new BDS Hubs. In early 2019, over 70 employees of 12 Egyptian banks participated in a successful pilot program, which is being rolled out throughout 2019. Check out the program flyer here.
Acceleration Programs for Social Entrepreneurs
The SANAD Entrepreneurship Academy and the Hult Prize teamed up to design and implement Changelabs to provide social entrepreneurs with access to knowledge, tools, and seed funding. The first cohort of ten selected social entrepreneurs is currently receiving technical training and mentorship from experienced business development experts. BLOM Bank and FMO are providing USD 75,000 in seed funding through prizes for the top startups. The acceleration program ignites social innovation and entrepreneurship among students with the potential to deliver meaningful change while generating sustainable profits. View the program launch video here.
JORDAN AND LEBANON
Promoting Agri Entrepreneurship in Jordan and Lebanon
The SANAD Entrepreneurship Academy, together with Jusoor - one of the industry leaders in entrepreneurship training for Syrian refugees, designed a program to support agriculture-focused start-ups in developing solutions to address the challenges faced by the agriculture sector in Jordan and Lebanon. The program contributes to the fund’s strategy to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in the agricultural sector and can be scalable to the entire MENA region.
The first pilot of this project took place in the Levant region and began with a detailed needs assessment to identify the challenges faced by Small and Medium Enterprises (“SMEs”) in the agriculture and agri-business sector there. Then after a call for applications and selecting the participating start-ups, the acceleration program culminated in a pitching day. 33 businesses, 106 entrepreneurs in total, were supported by this program the pilot program.
Mentorship program for Lebanese and Syrian entrepreneurs
In 2020, the SANAD Entrepreneurship Academy once again teamed up with Mowgli Mentoring to boost the success of Syrian and Lebanese microentrepreneurs through an intensive nine-month mentorship program. Following on the success of the pilot initiative conducted in Jordan in 2018, the partners’ second joint initiative moved to Lebanon to match 15 local business leaders with 15 Lebanese and Syrian microentrepreneurs. The participants were selected from the client base of Al Majmoua, a microfinance institution and longstanding partner of the SANAD Fund for MSME, and Ibdaa Lebanon, another Lebanese microfinance institution.
One-on-one mentoring was supplemented with group sessions for consultation and exchange, all with an eye to supporting the integration of refugees into their host community while fostering sustainable, income-generating business activities for both Syrian and Lebanese entrepreneurs alike.
The program persevered despite the challenges posed by the events of 2020; and in autumn, an online graduation ceremony was held for mentees and mentors alike. Watch the video online!
Agrytech, a program of the Lebanese Venture Capital Fund Berytech, is accelerating Lebanese startups in the agri-food industry with financial and business advice and skills. After the first bootcamp phase, 14 of the 27 teams were selected for the second acceleration round. After that, the top nine teams were chosen to continue to the third and final phase of the accelerator: a six-month incubation program that included up to USD 22,000 in grants.
Under SANAD’s Entrepreneurship Academy, the young entrepreneurs received top-notch business advisory and mentoring to fine-tune their minimum viable product and absorb new expertise and technology. The program monitors the startups’ progress, and through one-on-one scale up sessions, is working to enhance their capacities for fundraising, operations, and client and investor relationships to gain traction and grow. For more information, please visit Agrytech’s website.
Advancing Agritech Incubation in the Moroccan Startup Ecosystem
In 2020, the SANAD Entrepreneurship Academy in partnership with Impact Lab - an accelerator for impact start-ups that operates in North and West Africa, supported the implementation of an innovative program. The program aimed to empower agritech start-ups by helping them further refine their concepts and solutions. The project consisted of conducting a three-month awareness raising campaign, a six-week digital bootcamp for 10 Moroccan agritech start-ups and holding a demo day and the final matching event. 18 entrepreneurs were supported throughout the project and the majority of the startups received funding from Innov Invest Funds – further supporting them in the development of their solutions.
SPARK Entrepreneurship Bootcamp
As part of the program launched by the SANAD Entrepreneurship Academy together with local development organization SPARK, 20 student entrepreneurs in the Palestinian Territories participated in an intensive three-day “business bootcamp” to help them pitch their startup ideas to a panel of judges from industry and finance. The panel included representatives from three SANAD partner institutions: TNB Bank, Palestine for Development Foundation (PSDF), and Vitas Palestine.
The five winners, all women, have benefited from six months of intensive business training with experts in the field. The SANAD Entrepreneurship Academy financed the bootcamp, which represents the “Economic Empowerment” component of SPARK’s Dynamic Futures scholarship program. The project aims to foster links between the youth and financial sector and raise awareness of the importance and challenges of entrepreneurship for economic development.