Moroccan women entrepreneurs have received a huge boost from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), which has just launched a program to help them unleash their potential and contribute to their country’s economy.
Dubbed EBRD’s “Women in business program”, this initiative is supported by European Union and Moroccan banks: BMCE Bank of Africa and BMCI (Banque marocaine pour le commerce et l’industrie)
In an initial phase, the EBRD will provide the equivalent of a total of €35 million in local currency to BMCE Bank of Africa and BMCI to support women-led small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The EBRD signed a five-year €20 million loan with BMCE and five-year €15 million loan with BMCI.
Other banks are expected to join the initiative. The Women’s Business program aims in its initial phase to reach at least 200 women entrepreneurs, through both financing and advisory services. A focus will be put on supporting entrepreneurs outside of Morocco’s main commercial centers.
In addition to financing, women entrepreneurs receive business advice to make their businesses more competitive, as well as training, mentoring and network-building services, and also access to the EBRD’s online self-diagnostic. The training and mentoring allow women entrepreneurs to share experiences and learn from each other.
Since its launch in 2014, the EBRD Women’s Business Program has reached 35,000 women, providing financing of over €450 million in cooperation with more than 30 financial institutions in some 17 countries, as well as improved access to know-how, skills development training and business networks.
Since it began investing in Morocco in 2012, the EBRD has financed projects worth €1.6 billion in the country and provided over 400 Moroccan SMEs with business advice.