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IFC, Khalifa Fund Launch Online Toolkit to Support UAE Entrepreneurs


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

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, October 8, 2013—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development today launched SME Toolkit in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), an online solutions platform designed to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) grow their business and improve performance.

The SME Toolkit offers information and expert advice on how to start, run and grow a business. Available for free in both English and Arabic at www.smetoolkit.ae, the SME Toolkit is designed to help managers and entrepreneurs implement sound management practices to improve their business. The platform covers a wide range of management areas such as accounting, finance, human resources, legal issues, and marketing. To complement this global content, Khalifa Fund is developing specific modules. The first module by Khalifa Fund—Accounting and Budgeting Basics for the SME—will go live in October.

“The SME Toolkit UAE is not only a resource for the entrepreneur, but it is also a catalyst for entrepreneurship development in the UAE,” said said Nizar Cheniour, Director of Enterprise Development and Support at Khalifa Fund. “Khalifa Fund has invested a great deal in content development for the toolkit, in order to fulfill its mandate of spreading an entrepreneurial culture across the UAE. We collaborate with strategic partners in the SME community, from both the public and private sectors alike.”

Small and medium enterprises are crucial to growth across the Middle East and North Africa, where developing countries have some of the highest unemployment rates in the world. This initiative is expected to demonstrate the potential of smaller business and set an example for the region, which must create 75 million jobs by 2020 just maintain current employment rates.

”The SME Toolkit perfectly complements traditional services to small businesses by ensuring they benefit from expert advice in frequently over-looked areas,” said Deepak C. Khanna, Head of IFC in UAE. “The SME Toolkit provides the know-how that entrepreneurs need to break new ground, and create much needed jobs.”

First launched in 2002, the SME Toolkit is now available in more than 40 countries and 18 different languages. Its various websites worldwide receive 5 million unique visitors annually. According to a recent survey, 86 percent of repeat visitors to the online SME Toolkit have made or plan to make changes to their business. Of those who made changes, 96 percent reported improved business performance.

Khalifa Fund can help make the UAE a beacon of entrepreneurialism for the wider region. It will extend its own financial literacy campaign through the SME Toolkit by developing online courses with Potential, a UAE based company which specializes in localized content development for SMEs.

In 2006, IFC partnered with IBM to strengthen and expand the SME Toolkit’s capabilities. IBM continues to support the development of the SME Toolkit by incorporating innovative and collaborative features.

About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. Working with private enterprises in more than 100 countries, we use our capital, expertise, and influence to help eliminate extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity. In FY13, our investments climbed to an all-time high of nearly $25 billion, leveraging the power of the private sector to create jobs and tackle the world’s most pressing development challenges. For more information, visit www.ifc.org

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About Khalifa Fund
Established in 2007 to help develop local enterprises in Abu Dhabi, with a total capital investment of AED 2 billion. The Fund aims to create a new generation of Emirati entrepreneurs by instilling and enriching the culture of investment amongst young people, as well as supporting and developing small to medium-sized investments in the Emirate. In order to create a favorable investment environment and strengthen the capacity of entrepreneurs, the Fund has developed a system of support services for entrepreneurs. These include training, development, data and consulting services, in addition to a number of marketing-focused initiatives including the SME Toolkit web platform.

SME Toolkit
SME Toolkit (www.smetoolkit.org), an innovation of IFC, developed in partnership with IBM, uses 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.
For more information about IBM, please visit www.ibm.com. IBM’s corporate responsibility report is available at: www.ibm.com/responsibility