BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AND FINANCIAL SERVICES IN THE MIDDLE EAST

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1 BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AND FINANCIAL SERVICES IN THE MIDDLE EAST Rania Bikhazi Enterprise Development Specialist International Labour Organization

2 THE ARAB PRIVATE SECTOR STILL FALLS SHORT OF BEING AN ENGINE OF STRONG GROWTH At the macro level: Business environment not conducive Absence of an enabling legal and regulatory framework Unstable political and security situation Corruption, anti-competitive practices and high taxes Lack of Credit bureaus Tax incentives Government procurement Market access Bankruptcy policies

3 THE ARAB PRIVATE SECTOR STILL FALLS SHORT OF BEING AN ENGINE OF STRONG GROWTH At the meso level: Limited non-financial business development services that are mostly Not demand driven Subsidized (which creates a culture of dependency) Not affordable and SMEs are not ready to pay for such services Limited and expensive access to finance The average share of SME lending in the MENA region is quite low and forms less than 8% of total lending. SME lending in the GCC is even lower at only 2% mainly due to the domination i of very large enterprises and small non-oil traded d sectors, leaving little room for SMEs to flourish Burgeoning angel investor, venture capital and equity funding sector. Source: Rocha, R., Farazi, S., Khouri, R., & Pearce, D. (2011). The status of bank lending to SMEs in the Middle East and North Africa Region: The results of a joint survey of the union of Arab Bank and the World Bank. World Bank Policy Research Working Paper Series

4 THE ARAB PRIVATE SECTOR STILL FALLS SHORT OF BEING AN ENGINE OF STRONG GROWTH At the meso level: Absence of entrepreneurship education programmes to foster an entrepreneurship culture General preference for public sector jobs Culture related issues: fear of failure, feel of dependency Rigid education systems with little room for update

5 WHAT S HAPPENING IN THE SME SCENE? SMEs play a bigger role in non-oil exporting countries (Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine) GCC business environment is mainly defined d by public entities and large conglomerates. Governments have prioritized in the last few years private-sector development saturated public sector can no longer absorb the increasing unemployed labour force private sector development and the promotion of SMEs have been adopted as a channel to boost economic activity and tackle the unemployment challenge. reforms have been enacted to encourage entrepreneurship for the crucial reason of creating decent and sustainable jobs for the coming generations.

6 WHAT S HAPPENING IN THE SME SCENE? Changes occurred at the meta, macro and meso levels through the fostering of an enterprise culture and building a more conducive business environment both of which are still in their infant stages. In the last 5 years, there has been a sharp increase in the number of institutions supporting entrepreneurs in the Middle East. Budding support includes Entrepreneurship education (INJAZ) BDS provision (SMEPS-Yemen), loan guarantee (Kafalat-Lebanon), emergence of SME specific financial products (Al Raffd Fund/SANAD-Oman), incubation (Oasis 500-Jordan, Berytech-Lebanon)

7 SNAP SHOT OF SUPPORT INITIATIVES: A CLEAR NEED FOR INTEGRATION & COORDINATION

8 ACCESS TO FINANCE CHANNELS Commercial banks Risk averse Lack of start-up specific products Islamic Finance Microfinance Institutions Loan guarantee funds High risk High administrative costs Strict loan guarantee conditions Burgeoning angel investor, VC and equity industry

9 RESOURCES ACCESSED BY ENTREPRENEURS In a study conducted by Wamda, 78% of entrepreneurs surveyed relied on personal savings at least partially to finance their companies. Additionally, nearly half (43%) have received support from family or friends, while a mere 24% have received support from an angel investor. Source: Wamda Research Lab. The Next Step- Breaking barriers to scale for MENA s Entrepreneurs (March 2014)

10 INVESTORS AND FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS ACKNOWLEDGE THE LACK OF SUFFICIENT FUNDING BUT MENTION A DIFFERENT BARRIER TO INVESTMENT entrepreneurs inability to pitch ideas effectively and their lack of understanding of what investors are looking for

11 VIEWS FROM EXPERTS AND ENTREPRENEURS Source: Wamda Research Lab. The Next Step- Breaking barriers to scale for MENA s Entrepreneurs (March 2014)

12 BARRIERS TO GROWTH ARE NOT PURELY FINANCIAL FINDING PARTNERS, LEGAL PROCESSES AND FINANCIAL COSTS RECRUITING AND RETAINING TALENT MARKETING PRODUCTS, FINDING CUSTOMERS AND COLLECTING PAYMENTS

13 LIMTED ACCESS TO FINANCE IS NOT THE ONLY OBSTACLE TO A FLOURISHING SME SECTOR THERE IS A GAP BETWEEN ENTREPRENEURS REQUESTS FOR FUNDING AND FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS EXPECTATIONS

14 ILO FOCUSES ON BRIDGING THE GAP BY: introducing youth to the world of business i i l h i preparing potential entrepreneurs to the requirements and challenges of starting a business

15 ILO S FOCUS ON FOSTERING AN ENTERPRISE CULTURE Implementation of entrepreneurship education and business start-up programmes to build a generation of entrepreneurs at the personal and business levels. The Know About Business entrepreneurship education programme is implemented in 8 countries in the Middle East. National roll-out in Syria, Oman, Yemen, Palestine Pilot implementation in Iraq/Kurdistan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Jordan Targets young men and women enrolled in secondary vocational and general education and training To date, over 130,000 students and 1900 teachers/ trainers have participated in the KAB programme

16 ILO S FOCUS ON FOSTERING ENTERPRISE START- UP AMONGST YOUTH Implementation of the Mubadara business start-up programme in 8 universities in Yemen. Equip students with entrepreneurial skills and tools. Coach them throughout the business plan formulation, pre and post start-up pphase. Provide exposure, networking opportunities and financial linkages through a nation wide business plan competition. Additional financial linkages provided through partnering with banks to create start-up specific banking products.

17 ILO TOOLS FOR ENTERPRISE START-UP AND IMPROVEMENT The Start & Improve Your Business (SIYB) programme is a management-training programme with a focus on starting and improving small businesses. Simplified Start and Improve Your Business (SSIYB), Generate Your Business Idea (GYB), Start Your Business (SYB) and Improve Your Business (IYB). SIYB is implemented td in over 95 countries ti worldwide among which Qatar, Iraq, Jordan in the Middle East.

18 AN INTEGRATED APPROACH IS NEEDED WHERE ALL STAKEHOLDERS ARE INVOLVED IN BRIDGING THE GAP AND CONTRIBUTING TO THE CREATION OF A CONDUCIVE BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT

19 ILO S ROLE IN CREATING AN ENABLING BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT Tripartite approach linking governments, employers and workers Promote the development of sustainable enterprises and decent job creation Promote sustainable and inclusive financial services through ILO s Social Finance Programme

20 CHAMBERS AND BUSINESS ASSOCIATIONS PLAY A KEY FACILITATION ROLE Advocacy and lobbying role Support governments in the formulation of policies that contribute to the strengthening of the private sector and specifically SMEs. Pooling of private sector support and funding for the enactment of suggested policies Facilitation role Access to Business Development Services Access to finance Networking and exposure (including links to businessmen and women as mentors and coaches) Dissemination i of relevant business start-up t and management information Legal requirements and linkages with relevant legal entities Financial requirements and linkages with relevant financial entities

21 THANK YOU!

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