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IFC, Government of Bahrain Support Smaller Businesses with New Web Platform


In Cairo:
Riham Mustafa
Phone: +(202) 2461-4230
E-mail: rmustafa@ifc.org

Manama, Bahrain, May 10—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the Ministry of Industry and Commerce in Bahrain launched an online platform to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) across the country grow their business and improve performance.

The SME Toolkit, developed by IFC in partnership with IBM, offers information and advice on how to start, run and grow a business. Available for free at http://bahrain.smetoolkit.org, the SME Toolkit is designed to help managers and entrepreneurs implement sound management practices to improve their businesses. Its areas of focus include accounting, finance, human resources, legal issues, and marketing.

“Our objective is to transform the Kingdom’s oil-dependent economy into a more diversified, developed economy that is internationally competitive,” said Zayed Al Zayani, the Minister of Industry and Commerce. “Our partnership with IFC will help us enhance the competitiveness of our SMEs, and spur growth across the country.”

SMEs are crucial to growth in developing economies, as they contribute a high proportion of jobs and, in some countries, more than 30 percent of the gross domestic product. In MENA, they comprise up to 90 percent of all businesses and generate up to 40 percent of employment in the region.

“SMEs are often the main drivers of growth in any country,” said Walid Al Murshed, Head of Gulf Cooperation Council Countries at IFC. “Providing essential information and business skills for entrepreneurs will help unlock the economic potential of the country, while helping companies improve their performance and attract investments.”

The Ministry of Industry and Commerce will be working with three strategic partners; Tamkeen, Bahrain Development Bank, and Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry, to promote the SME Toolkit across the kingdom’s private sector.

First launched in 2002, the SME Toolkit is now available in more than 40 countries and 17 different languages. Its various websites worldwide receive 6.7 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, 78 percent of repeat users reported improved business performance as a result of using SME Toolkit.

The initiative is part of IFC’s strategy in Bahrain, which focuses on supporting small and medium enterprises, creating jobs and promoting cross border investments.

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 about 100 countries, we use our capital, expertise, and influence to help eliminate extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. In FY14, we provided more than $22 billion in financing to improve lives in developing countries and tackle the most urgent challenges of development. For more information, visit www.ifc.org

For more information about MOIC, please visit www.moic.gov.bh

SME Toolkit
SME Toolkit is an online platform that helps entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) all over the world to learn and implement sustainable business management practices and increase their productivity, efficiency, and capacity, as well as improve their access to finance and new markets. SME Toolkit provides SMEs with free online key business management information, interactive tools, and training resources. This includes over 5,000 free business forms, tools, and how-to-articles, as well as a global business directory, multilingual community forums, and a host of other interactive features. Explore our categories on accounting & finance, human resources, international business, legal & insurance, marketing & sales, operations, exporting and technology, as well as our eLearning section. The global site, SME Toolkit has been launched in 17 languages in 42 markets around the world.

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