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New NGO to Train Underprivileged Egyptians and Finance Small Businesses The Lead Foundation Lend. Empower. Advance. Develop.


Corrie Shanahan        

Phone:  (202) 473-2258

Fax:  (202) 974 4384

E-mail:
cshanahan@ifc.org


Cairo, 17 October 2002—United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the International Finance Corporation (IFC)—the private sector arm of the World Bank Group—and the Mansour Group of companies announce the formation of a new foundation that will provide vocational training for underprivileged Egyptians and financing to micro and small businesses.  The LEAD Foundation will be established under NGO law number 84/2002 with the goal of launching several community development projects aimed at giving people the chance to develop skills and find better jobs.

The LEAD Foundation will build on and benefit from the excellent technical capacity developed over the past years in the USAID supported small business development activities and the IFC activity, A Chance to Work, which has been implemented with the support of the Mansour Group.  USAID has had vast experience in Egypt in assisting efficient and effective Small Micro Enterprise (SME) lending programs.  To date, 850,000 loans valued at over LE 2 billion have been extended to 340,000 Egyptian entrepreneurs.  This project is being implemented to further economic development and growth in Egypt, and in an effort to support the Government of Egypt’s plans in creating employment and increasing earnings among low-income groups.


The LEAD Foundation, chaired by Mohamed Mansour of the Mansour Group, includes several of the leading industrialists in Egypt who will serve on the board.


Two programs will fall under the LEAD Foundation umbrella.  These will be:
       A Small and Micro-Lending Program, which will provide financing to small and micro businesses in the underprivileged areas of Cairo.  With the backing of USAID, the foundation will borrow funds from local banks and lend them to Small and Micro businesses.
       A Chance to Work Program, which has been piloted by IFC and the Mansour Group.  Supported by technical assistance provided by the IFC, the program provides on-the-job training in skills for which there is a market demand in the Cairo area.  Market research was conducted to identify those skills.  The initial programs provided training in plumbing and automotive bodywork.  These on-the-job training programs were offered by the Mansour Group.  The Coptic Evangelical Organization for Social Service (CEOSS) was a key NGO partner in this pilot program. CEOSS provided the link between the candidates for the programs, IFC and the Mansour Group.  By the end of 2002 two programs will have been successfully completed, each lasting six months.  The LEAD Foundation is also looking to partner with additional NGOs as the programs under its umbrella expand.


The founders are committed to financial contribution through an annual membership fee and fund raising efforts to support part of the Foundation’s operation.  The foundation is seeking further support from the Egyptian private sector and welcomes candidates that wish to participate in its mission to “help Egyptians help themselves.”

Shaimaa El Kafrawy
Promoseven PR Egypt
Media Relations Manager
Mobile: 012 397 9589
Phone: (20-2) 736 2813
Fax: (20-2) 736 2821