US Embassy Helps Young Iraqi Entrepreneurs Create Businesses and Jobs

The U.S. Embassy’s Iraqi Youth Initiative, which forms part of the Tijara Provincial Economic Growth Program run by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), will mark its two-year anniversary in April 2012.

Since the start of the program, loans valued at $3,625,100 have enabled 1,045 young entrepreneurs to build businesses that today employ 2,220 Iraqis. The pace of job creation is increasing, with more than 1,000 new jobs created during the last quarter of 2011 thanks to microfinance loans totaling $1.63 million.

The Embassy announced last week that 27 young Iraqis from Baghdad, Karbala, Wasit, Muthanna, Najaf and Dhi Qar provinces have been awarded loans worth $87,700 through the Iraqi Youth Initiative to help them start new businesses that will create an estimated 54 new jobs.

The initiative has also trained 1,222 young Iraqis in its apprentice training program over the past two years, and 690 participants have been placed in apprenticeships with local company sponsors for three months of on-the-job skills development.

An additional 1,300 young Iraqis will complete similar training by the end of June 2012, and over $4.45 million more is budgeted to loan to young entrepreneurs. In all, over 3,800 individuals have benefited from the Tijara program thus far.

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