SANAD & HFE support entrepreneurs in MENA region with free online education


Building on its response to COVID-19 crisis, SANAD and HFE support more than 18,500 young entrepreneurs in MENA region with free online education

  • Online course on “How to Start and Manage a Successful Business” specially developed for owners of small and very small enterprises
  • Participants from 10 countries across Middle East and North Africa
  • Initiative aims to bolster success of small local businesses, counteracting challenges of global pandemic 

Frankfurt and Amman, September 28, 2020 – Over the first half of 2020, more than 18,500 aspiring entrepreneurs and owners of small and very small enterprises in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) took part in a multi-session online financial education course for entrepreneurs. Entitled “How to Start and Manage a Successful Business,” the free-of-charge curriculum was specially developed for this target segment by the Entrepreneurship Academy of the SANAD Fund for MSME together with the Al Hussein Fund for Excellence (HFE) Jordan. The course, which is still open and available on the renowned Edraak online education platform, aims to support the success of the region’s local business owners – a key economic sector which drives income generation and job creation. The partners emphasize the particular relevance of this endeavor during a time when the economic effects of the COVID-19 crisis continue to weigh heavily on smaller enterprises.

The course comprises multiple modules covering business basics along with specific phases of development such as starting, growing, financing, and managing a business. Interactive elements are interspersed with video instruction that includes infographics and case studies; successful completion of the evaluated exercises results in a certificate. To date, the average age of participants has been 29. Nearly half are women. All modules and exercises are in Arabic.

Respondents indicated high satisfaction with the course: “I learned how to choose an appropriate project for the needs of the market, making a business and marketing plans, and also how to take decisions based on sales and customer satisfaction results,” said one learner. 

Ines Ebrecht, Chairperson of the SANAD Technical Assistance Facility which runs the Entrepreneurship Academy, said: “Especially during times when micro and small enterprises are struggling with the economic turbulence of the coronavirus outbreak, it is more important than ever that we equip entrepreneurs with the tools to shore up their business operations. Whether this is by optimizing their finances or learning how to expand their outreach – education, information, and skills are indispensable. The promotion of successful entrepreneurship in the Middle East and North Africa is at the core of our mission at the SANAD Entrepreneurship Academy, and we are glad to see the outreach of this program so far across the region.”

Ali Yaghi, General Manager of the HFE and coordinator of the Financial Education and Capabilities pillar of Jordan’s National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS), remarked: “Although the course was originally intended for learners from Jordan, we are proud that our partnership with SANAD extended its impact to benefit learners from all other countries in the MENA region. Learners registered from 10 MENA countries, with Jordan as the fourth in terms of number of learners. Moreover, the course report showed a good gender balance among learners as 45% of them are female; this is again one of the strategic objectives of Jordan's NFIS. We do hope that the knowledge and skills offered by the course will help micro and small businesses in the region enhance their operations in order to be able to face the economic turbulences caused by the COVID-19 pandemic."

Shireen Yacoub, CEO of Edraak, added: “Entrepreneurship is a key theme under our content strategy, through which we always strive to provide Arab learners with skills and knowledge that can help them seize their potential and access better life opportunities. We are committed to working with outstanding partners like SANAD Fund for MSME and Al Hussein Fund for Excellence, to develop high quality learning experiences that offer real value to our learners.”

The course “How to Start and Manage a Successful Business” continues to be available and free-of-charge on the Edraak platform for self-paced learning. 

It is available at:

About SANAD 

The SANAD Fund for MSME finances micro, small, and medium enterprises and low-income households in the Middle East and North Africa via qualified local lenders. SANAD thereby fosters economic development and job creation – including youth employment – agriculture, affordable housing, and innovations in finance and financial technologies. SANAD strives to meet these goals by providing debt and equity financing to its local partners. 

The SANAD Technical Assistance Facility (SANAD TAF) multiplies the fund’s impact and outreach through capacity-building with partner institutions, developing financial infrastructures according to the principles of responsible finance and conducting much required research and development. The SANAD Entrepreneurship Academy, an initiative of the SANAD TAF, encompasses a range of programs to support business owners throughout SANAD’s target region. By working together with local organizations that drive incubation and acceleration projects, the Entrepreneurship Academy provides entrepreneurs with guidance, resources, mentoring, networking opportunities, the chance to receive financial backing, and other means necessary to turn good ideas into successful enterprises.

An impact investment fund advised by Finance in Motion, SANAD’s investors include the KfW Development Bank, which initiated the fund; the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ); the European Union; Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO); OeEB, the Development Bank of Austria; Germany’s GLS Bank and GLS Treuhand; the Dutch development bank FMO; and Calvert Impact Capital. 

For more information on the SANAD Fund for MSME, please visit:
For more information on Finance in Motion, please visit:  

About the Al-Hussein Fund for Excellence

Al Hussein Fund for Excellence (HFE) is a not-for-profit NGO established by the banking community in Jordan in 1999 as part of their social responsibility commitments. The Chairman of the Board of Directors of the HFE is by regulation the Governor of the CBJ. The vision of HFE is to be a center for promoting excellence, encouraging innovation and endorsing sustainable development among individuals and groups in both private and public sectors in Jordan. Since its establishment, HFE has been working on a wide scope of projects starting from enhancing the quality of education and higher education to promoting innovation and entrepreneurship in the fields of environment and renewable energy. In addition to the many projects, the Fund has been working under the umbrella of the CBJ, with other stakeholders in Jordan, to promote financial education and capabilities in all sectors of the Jordanian society. The Fund is a member of the technical committee for the National Financial Education at Schools project and leading the work group of financial education and capabilities in the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (2018-2020).

For more information, please visit:

About Edraak

Launched by Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan in 2014 and headquartered in Amman, Jordan, Edraak is the Arab World’s leading platform for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), offering educational opportunities to millions of learners across the region in Arabic language.

For more information, please visit: 

Media contact – SANAD
Nikki Eggers
Senior Officer, Marketing & Communications
Phone: +49 (0)69 271 035-470 

Media contact – HFE
Dr. Ali Yaghi
General Manager
Phone: +962 79 850 8448

Media contact – Edraak
Hiba Nabulsi
Social Media Specialist
Phone: +962 6 5413636 Ext. 117