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Women’s Entrepreneurship in Jordan Strengthened with IFC’s Help


In Cairo:
Carmen Niethammer
Email: cniethammer@ifc.org


Amman, Jordan, December 14, 2005—The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, organized a two-day workshop on “Pricing Strategies and Problem Solving”  in partnership with the Jordan Forum for Business and Professional Women.  The workshop was held December 10-11, 2005, and about 40 women entrepreneurs attended.

The workshop was designed to provide women with skills and support to help them develop as successful entrepreneurs. The training was tailored to the needs of women entrepreneurs and used IFC’s well-established Business Edge management training methodology and expertise. Workshops have already been held in several countries in the region, and demand for them continues to grow. They have been well received, both by partner organizations and by small business owners, because of their practicality for small businesses.

The Jordan Forum for Business and Professional Women is one of the country’s leading women’s business associations. It provides counseling on legal matters, mentoring, and a business incubation program to encourage the start-up and growth of women-owned businesses.

Senator Wijdan Talhoni, president of the forum, noted, “Businesswomen in Jordan are often prevented from growing their businesses because they lack access to training in business skills. Regardless of the size of the enterprise, limited access to such training is viewed as a major hindrance to women’s entrepreneurship, along with poor access to finance. This is why this current training is crucial.”

Ahmed Attiga, IFC’s resident representative in Jordan, commented that “Jordan’s national strategy for the promotion of women has focused on empowering women to join the labor force.  This includes more active participation in the private sector. This workshop will help build women’s capacity for business management and will contribute to the country’s overall economic development.”

The workshop was organized under the auspices of IFC’s Gender Entrepreneurship Markets initiative through IFC’s technical assistance program, the Private Enterprise Partnership Middle East and North Africa).  The gender program is intended to strengthen growth-oriented, women-owned small and medium businesses in the Middle East and North Africa. PEP-MENA supports private sector development across the region. It focuses on improving the business enabling and regulatory environment; strengthening the financial sector; promoting the growth of small and medium enterprises and their support services, such as business organizations and consulting firms; helping restructure and privatize state-owned enterprises; and developing viable private sector and public-private partnership projects, especially in infrastructure.

The mission of IFC (www.ifc.org) is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing countries, helping to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives. IFC finances private sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses. From its founding in 1956 through FY05, IFC has committed more than $49 billion of its own funds and arranged $24 billion in syndications for 3,319 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio as of FY05 was $19.3 billion for its own account and $5.3 billion held for participants in loan syndications.