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
· 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.”