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IFC, Jordan Ahli Bank Launch Online Platform to Help Smaller Businesses


In Cairo:
Riham Mustafa
Phone: +20 2 2461 4230
E-mail:
RMustafa@ifc.org

Amman, Jordan, April 8, 2013—IFC, a member of the World Bank group, and Jordan Ahli Bank today launched an online platform designed to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) improve their performance, part of an effort to boost economic development across the country.

SME Toolkit offers entrepreneurs free, online, around-the-clock access to expert information, interactive tools, and educational resources tailored to the Jordanian market. Available at www.jordan.smetoolkit.org, the platform will help smaller businesses implement sound management practices, enter new markets, and access the loans they need to expand.

“Smaller enterprises employ about 70 percent of Jordanians, but often they don’t have access to information that is vital for their business,” said Adnan Khalil, Head of the SME Services Department at Jordan Ahli Bank. “This platform will help address that knowledge gap.”

IFC’s SME Toolkit was launched in 2002 and is available in over 40 markets and 17 languages. Its local websites receive a combined 5.5 million unique visitors annually. In many places it is the largest online business support resource in the local language.

“Smaller businesses are a vital part of all economies in this region,” said Mouayed Makhlouf, IFC Director for the Middle East and North Africa. “The SME Toolkit will give them the support and know-how they need to grow and create jobs, helping drive economic growth.”

In 2006, IFC partnered with IBM to strengthen and expand the SME Toolkit’s capabilities.

"Small and medium businesses are a significant economic force in Jordan," said Bashar Kilani, Territory Manager, IBM Gulf and Levant. “The SME Toolkit is a great example of how smaller companies are gaining access to the same sophisticated technology and know-how for running both the strategic and day-today aspects of their enterprise. These were once the exclusive domain of much larger businesses. Equipped with these resources, small and medium enterprises now have a greater chance of succeeding.”

The project is part of IFC's efforts to support the development of Jordan's private sector and drive economic growth across the country. In the 2012 fiscal year, IFC invested $166 million in Jordan and launched several advisory projects. That support was designed to increase the supply of affordable medicine, help small businesses secure much-needed loans, and boost power supplies, among other things.

About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, mobilizing capital in international financial markets, and providing advisory services to businesses and governments. In FY12, our investments reached an all-time high of more than $20 billion, leveraging the power of the private sector to create jobs, spark innovation, and tackle the world’s most pressing development challenges. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.

SME Toolkit
SME Toolkit (www.smetoolkit.org), an innovation of IFC, developed in partnership with IBM, leverages the latest information and communication technologies to help entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in emerging markets learn and implement sustainable business management practices and increase their productivity, capacity, and access to finance and new markets. Through a network of global partners and local distribution partners, the Toolkit provides business men and women with online and mobile phone access to key business management information, interactive tools, and educational resources free of charge.

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For more information about Jordan AhliBank, please visit www.ahli.com
 
For more information about IBM, please visit www.ibm.com. IBM’s corporate responsibility report is available at: www.ibm.com/responsibility.