Coronavirus: Moroccan Women-Led SMEs Get EBRD-EU Support

The EBRD, together with the European Union (EU), is stepping up efforts to support small and medium-sized enterprises managed and owned by businesswomen in Morocco, amidst the coronavirus pandemic, considering that women entrepreneurs are expected to be disproportionately affected by the crisis as their firms tend to be concentrated in certain sectors.

The EBRD is providing immediate support to companies affected by the impact of the coronavirus. As a first step, the Bank approved a €1 billion solidarity package for existing clients facing temporary difficulties. The program includes, among other measures, short-term capital, refinancing, trade finance and restructuring support, EBRD said in a press release Thursday.

 

More than 20 women entrepreneurs, who are participating in the Women in Business program, are taking part in a series of online training sessions launched by the EBRD with support from the EU through its Initiative for Financial Inclusion. The Initiative provides financial support to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, including innovative start-ups, in the EU Neighborhood South, said the press release.

 

As a response to the need to adapt to remote working, the training focuses on digital marketing, online presence and exposure. The program includes crisis management and innovative marketing. It will equip participants with tools to build a communication strategy reflecting the challenges during this crisis period and prepare for the aftermath.

 

Businesswomen in Morocco will also be able to take part in a tailored online mentoring program in partnership with Endeavor Morocco, an affiliate of the international organization Endeavor that provides support to high-impact entrepreneurs. They will be able to access a network of management consulting firms, incubators, investment funds and private equity funds as well as high-tech companies, and to exchange advice and experience to boost their skills and strategies, the EBRD explained.

 

The Covid-19 pandemic and its economic consequences present an unprecedented challenge to the regions where the EBRD invests. During the period of major economic disruption, it is vital to ensure that enterprises adapt to the challenges ahead.

The EBRD launched the Women in Business program in Morocco in 2018. The program combines advisory services with credit lines through local partner banks, BMCE Bank of Africa and BMCI, for a total of €35 million, to invest in projects that boost the competitiveness of firms.

 

Morocco is a founding member of the EBRD and became a country of operations in 2012. To date, the Bank has invested over €2 billion in the country through 60 projects.

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